The GMO Factor

Knowledge is power. Consumers become more powerful and in control of what they and their families eat by knowing when food is genetically engineered.

Once upon a time every Jewish community in the old country had a jester a so-called a badchan.

In looking up the translation for badchan I found the following on Wikipedia: “The badchen was considered a standard part of the wedding party, as de rigueur as the officiating rabbi. The badchen has to be able both to provide the energy for a party and also to make the transition to a more serious tone immediately before the ceremony. To this end his comedy was not of a slapstick variety but rather verbal with many intricate Talmudic references and in-jokes.”

The story goes, Phodlig the Badchan asked the grand Rebbe and master, Rabbi Dovber of Chabad, “What is the difference between you and me? That which I know, the Rebbe knows! And that which the Rebbe does not know, neither do I!”

Without missing a beat, Phodlig continued, “Ahhh… of course there remains a great difference! It is that which the Rebbe knows, which I do not! And this explains the great difference that lies between the Rebbe and me!”

As we move closer to the upcoming general election, contemplating which presidential candidate to vote for seems to be taking up most of the "noise.” However, there are many other critical issues on the California ballot of great concern to us as a community that will affect all of society. It behooves us all to be properly informed and otherwise be “in the know,” luckily for this we need not be a Rebbe!

For example, Proposition 37 would require retailers and manufacturers of processed foods to label both fresh produce and manufactured, packaged foods that contain ingredients derived from genetically modified organisms (GMOs). GMOs are “plants and potentially animals” whose DNA has been manipulated in a laboratory involving the insertion or deletion of genes.

This measure addresses our right to know, not whether food produced from GMO should be banned, whether such food is safe, nor whether genetically modified crops are the right solution to address the world's food needs. This proposition simply makes it the manufactures’ responsibility to inform us, the consumer, whether the bright red exemplary looking tomato is natural, or whether some scientist played around with its genome pattern to give the tomato just the right genes to score a perfect 10.

Personally, and I speak for my wife too, we like to be “in the know!” Especially as parents of children who have severe food allergies and educators of a preschool where we are duty-bound to be extra careful in these matters, we believe in our “right to know.” Knowledge is power. Consumers become more powerful and in control of what they and their families eat by knowing when food is genetically engineered.

If you would like to be better informed on Prop 37 here are links for more information from both sides of the issue.  A good place to begin is here:

Do you have a different opinion? Please post here, or email me at rabbi@jewishmalibu.com

Shabbat Shalom! 

Jacky Tomlinson October 05, 2012 at 03:15 PM
Heck ya!!! I want to know!!! I know Catherine Wyman Norris of Catie's organic food supplements is backing a strong movement to get the word out. They are filming a music video this morning at an organic farm in Camarillo (http://www.mcgrathfamilyfarm.com/) They have considered several songs and I think they are filming for this one today. I really love it! I put it up on my Sound Cloud It is Ashley Marilyn Norris singing! http://soundcloud.com/jacky-gibbons-tomlinson/01-gmo-song
J. Flo October 05, 2012 at 06:22 PM
I want to know, absolutely! Thank you for writing this. Of course, Monsanto is fighting this initiative. Enough said - ?
Terry October 05, 2012 at 07:21 PM
super important issue. we need to know if our food is genetically mutated and sprayed with insecticides. grass roots movement is growing all over american for lables. we have a right to know


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