The ballot initiative will greet voting Californians next election day that will allow them to vote on labels for foods containing transgenic materials (or that derived from protoplast fusions). Over the next few days I'm going to go through the actual verbiage of the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act.
When I read this I see two things:
1. People are going to vote for, and likely approve a feel-good act that nobody has read.
2. There is no way that if approved, it will survive court challenges. It is not based on facts, so evidence presented in a challenge of constitutionality will unveil that there is no merit to the Act.
Check out paragraphs (a) and (b). Count the instances of false or misleading information. Keep in mind that this is the rationale, justification and significance of the Act.
The people of the State of California do enact as follows:
THE CALIFORNIA RIGHT TO KNow GENETICALLY ENGINEERED FOOD
SECTION 1. FINDINGS AND DECLARATIONS
(a) California consumers have the right to know whether the foods they purchase were produced using genetic engineering. Genetic engineering of plants and animals often causes unintended consequences. Manipulating genes and inserting them into organisms is an imprecise process. The results are not always predictable or controllable, and they can lead to adverse health or
(b) Government scientists have stated that the artificial insertion of DNA into plants, a technique unique to genetic engineering, can cause a variety of significant problems with plant foods. Such genetic engineering can increase the levels of known toxicants in foods and introduce new t oxicants and health concerns.
What did you find? Let's examine the claims one by one.
1. Genetic engineering of plants and animals often causes unintended consequences.
Like what? Define "often". There is no evidence to support this statement as it would apply to human or environmental health.
2. Manipulating genes and inserting them into organisms is an imprecise process.
False. Manipulating sequences is a tremendously precise process. Constructs assembled for insertion are invariably sequenced for accuracy. The site of integration into the host genome is easily determined using a variety of techniques from TAIL-PCR to whole-genome sequencing and comparison to reference genomes. It is a precise process.
3. The results are not always predictable or controllable
Well nothing is always predictable or controllable. Except for people telling me that I work for Monsanto. But I digress.
The science behind transgenics is based on a prediction and then a test. The test results are usually consistent with the prediction (e.g. insertion of the cry1A gene will produce the CRY1A protein). If it is not, then the item developed is DOA and not commercialized. The results are predictable, and if they are not, then the strategy is revisited until it is.
4. and they can lead to adverse health or environmental consequences.
There is no evidence to support this claim, other than development of resistance to chemicals, but that is not a trangenic-specific problem. Some plants, like canola, have escaped farms are are reproducing in the wild, but there is no environmental impact as of yet.
5. Government scientists have stated that the artificial insertion of DNA into plants, a technique unique to genetic engineering, can cause a variety of significant problems with plant foods.
Like what? Any risks do not exceed those presented by traditional breeding or even by natural movement of mobile DNA elements like transposons. Who are the "governments scientists"? What about the other 99.9% of scientists?
6. Such genetic engineering can increase the levels of known toxicants in foods and introduce new toxicants and health concerns.
Like what? There is no evidence that a transgenic plant has produced a "toxicant". There are many examples of how toxic substances are produced by plants naturally, or in hybrids obtained through conventional breeding.
So the basic foundation of this Act is a complete sham. There is no factual basis underlying its justification and as such should not be voted for. It is possible to get people to sign petitions to outlaw dihydrogen monoxide. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yi3erdgVVTw That's just good old water! But if you make it sound scary, you can get the unsophisticated to sign on.
More to come on this important topic! Just wait 'til the last line of this Act! It will blow you away!