Thursday, September 25, 2014

A Food Fight of Epic Proportions - Colorado Debate 105

A Food Fight of Epic Proportions:

By Robyn O'Brien

So when I was asked to represent the pro-labeling campaign in Colorado on a televised debate, I wanted to say no, knowing they’d pull another fast one, but I couldn’t.  This work pulls me out of my comfort zone, I do things I am afraid to do.  Love is more powerful than fear, so I said yes.

I am not paid by the campaign to do this. I do the work as a mother of four. I volunteer my time for organizations working on this issue at the state level, the national level and the global level. It is my life’s work. 

I was to debate Don Shawcroft, the head of the Colorado Farm Bureau and a Colorado rancher.  He would represent the anti-labeling side. 

I am named after a farmer.  She is my godmother. She lost her husband when she was in her 40s, then turned around and battled cancer in one of her children and then breast cancer herself.  I don’t care what side of the food aisle you are on.  Farmers have fed our country since its inception. Colorado farmers have fed our state for generations. You honor that.  I was looking forward to the dialogue.

Our debate was scheduled for Wednesday, September 24 in Colorado.  A Colorado mom debating a Colorado farmer on a Colorado state initiative.

 It didn’t happen. 

When the opposition learned that I would be representing the campaign, they put the farmer in the corner and flew in an industry spokesperson name Dana Bieber from Seattle.

Nobody puts farmers in the corner.  I don’t care what side of the food aisle you are on.  We wouldn’t be here without them.  It was a bad decision.

Ms. Bieber is a pro.  It was obvious.  The work that she did as the Campaign Communications Director in Seattle last year and the work that she is now doing as the spokesperson for the anti-labeling campaign in Oregon is that of a professional.   She disclosed who was funding her work in Washington state on a call made to thousands of voters: “Monsanto Company, DuPont Pioneer, Dow Agrosciences, LLC and Bayer Crop Science” and the Grocery Manufacturers Association." You can listen here....

Here in Colorado, the anti-labeling opposition has been funded, so far, by the Grocery Manufacturers Association, Monsanto, Pepsi, Smuckers.  A slightly different list, disclosed by campaign finance reports. 

Colorado state law requires that only one issue is addressed per amendment title which means not everything for human consumption can be written into this bill. 

A spokesperson from another state who does not vote here may not know that.  (Read More)

Debate Time Code List

0:52 Why is 105 important? Why are we here today?
1:01 105 gives families, farmers, food companies and ranchers information about our food today
1:48 Info not reliable, exempt 2/3 food in state (indefensible special exemptions)
2:34 Why are foods exempt?
2:41 Dana is from Seattle, CO state law requires one issue at a time, first step to label more items, speculation food prices to increase, other countries have labeling with food price increasing
3:13 What would be labeled when 105 passes?
3:23 State law prohibits us from labeling everything
3:39 Dairy and meat? Vegetables and fruit? Cereal? 
4:13 Different areas of the grocery store is regulated under different government agencies
4:30 BT Corn - regulated by EPA as pesticide or corn grown in CO for centuries 
5:09 Animals fed or injected with GMO medications don't have to be labeled, misleads consumers
6:08 Should GMO Labeling be a state issue?
6:27 Other states do have GMO labeling and communities in other states will be voting on this issue. Federal gov has been weak. United Nations, World Health Organization ( and American Medical Association support mandatory safety testing. 

GMOs should be safety tested before they hit the market says AMA (Chicago Tribune - June 19, 2012)

7:33 Seat belt laws - started in New York City 1984
8:02 CO families know that the landscape of food has changed and they know the health of their families have changed and they simply want to make an informed choice. 
8:55 Two national standards: organic, Non-GMO Label
9:39 What labeling standards are in place in Colorado? 
9:47 What kind of labeling does a Colorado family need to protect their health?
10:00 American companies are providing this information to counties over seas and hiding it here in the US.
10:43 As states nationwide make some noise, change will happen and that is what democracy is all about.
10:58 GM share holders meeting CEO said he supports mandatory GMO labeling. It is a shift in his position. Chipotle share prices have taken off.
12:00 If I go to the organic section, I'm I getting Non-GMO food? Yes
12:30 Right. You have no way of knowing
12:53 GMO eggs, chickens fed GMO grains, special exemption, cheese 
13:16 Colorado state law - one issue at a time
13:42 Chewing gum needs a label, breath mints need a label, beer no label, non-alcoholic beer label
14:15 No way of knowing if food products contain GMO ingredients 
14:22 CO farmers growing corn for five generations now there is corn regulated by EPA 
14:40 The labeling will allow for the collection of data that is valuable to our farmers 
15:03 Assumption: Issue not about labeling....GMO foods. Supporters are left side of political equation. How are we going to feed the growing world population "without biotech"? Eric Sondernann
15:39 Robyn - Grew up republican, let free market decide.
15:53 Speculation - w/o biotech we could not feed the world. According to USDA, UN, 30-40% of food produced never reaches a human mouth, 64 counties label GMOs, 
17:01 Let's talk about the exports, exporting to states, CO food producers MUST ad GMO label to products shipped to Wyoming and has to try and compete with products w/o label in the state
17:41 BT is used by organic farmers
18:01 Organic Question, trend that GMOs are harmful, GMO turnips. Why is it that the labeling is not reversed? 
18:46 It is a fundamental right to know what you are going to feed your family. Worked with families on food stamps. Organic is expensive. You can't wash off a pesticide that has been added into the DNA of our food.
19:28 Reverse label, little kids and sugar not a good combination, granola bars could have a special exemption.   
20:20 Where is the support coming from in this campaign? Newspaper endorsements, organizations...
20:37 Broad coalition of folks support the No side. Zero tolerance written into 105. 
21:42 Newspaper endorsements? Such as? Democratic party,
22:21 I'm a Colorado mother of four. 
22:42 If 105 passes, are you fearful the initiative could be changed by the state legislature?
23:02 This is an opportunity for Colorado families to engage in democracy. It is the beginning of a conversation. It is a reasonable first start for a state law that only allows a state issue. 
23:42 Voters are voting on what is....not what could be. Chewing gum not labeled 
24:19 Robyn's closing statement
25:28 Dana's closing statement

No comments:

Post a Comment