Monday, November 3, 2014

GMO Initiative, or Right to Know Colorado Law: More Paper Pushing, More Risk?

The owner and operator of Denver Urban Homesteading, a small farmers market where I shop, opposes the proposed food labeling law:
Obviously Denver Urban Homesteading and its farmers do not support the use of genetically modified food. And we support the concept of labeling. However, this law has no exception for small markets. We will have to follow the same rules as multi-billion dollar supermarket corporations what with labeling, keeping affidavits, etc. AND WE CANNOT DO IT! Anyone who has come into our market knows we operate on a shoestring, and we fear that the shoestring will break if we are forced to hire another person to make sure we comply with this law. Or maybe we should just give up the free Chicken Swaps, Honey Festival, etc. so I can spend my time labeling instead. Additionally, a violation is a criminal offense. That's a lot of risk for a husband-wife team. Those who have followed our travails know that we challenge government over raw milk issues, re-use of egg carton issues, and now (for the last four years) intellectual property issues, and we do it to benefit our customers and to benefit society. But this law will give a vengeful bureaucrat one more tool in his or her arsenal to use against us when our next challenge comes up. 

BTW, I have spoken to the owners of several small ethnic markets where we shop who are opposed to this law. Obamacare doesn't kick in until you have 50 employees, and the ADA until you have 15. But this initiative will require labeling by every blessed soul who sells food in this state. Maybe it is time to come up with a labeling law that will not crush the many small markets in this state, otherwise we risk driving markets like ours out of business leaving us to rely even more on giant supermarkets and big agriculture. My Russian wife, who was born and raised in the USSR, told me that even the Communists didn't try to regulate farmers markets. - James Bertini
ETA: the initiative failed by a wide margin.


tess said...

sounds like the initiative is badly framed -- it sounds like it's DESIGNED to be unacceptable, doesn't it? ...but i also think that labeling is very important -- thank the gods i don't have to vote on it, myself! :-)

Lori Miller said...

I'm not convinced that something like GMO corn is any worse than non-GMO corn. Wheat is one of the worst things you can eat, and it's not GMO. And if Julian Bakery's shenanigans are any indication, I don't think labeling will do any good.

At a place like Denver Urban Homesteading, if something they sell makes people sick, they'll come face to face with upset customers. If something is mislabeled to the point of harming people, I think James or the vendor would resolve it.

Galina L. said...

I would rather farmers markets survive than GMO foods gone. I don't eat corn or wheat anywhay.

Lori Miller said...

If it gets to a point where people have to buy certain foods secretly, they can't go to authorities if they get something that's bad. It happened during Prohibition--people got extremely ill from bad alcohol. Not much they could do about it.