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Contributing Writer · Nov 2, 2012

Consumers Should be Aware of What’s in their Food

_ A special message from Practice Fusion CEO Ryan Howard _

This Election Day, a vote in California will have major implications for health across America. This proposed law, Proposition 37, will mandate the labeling of foods with genetically engineered ingredients and prevent companies from marketing them as “natural”. It’s a specific push for a simple label requirement in a single state. But it’s also a referendum on whether key food and health issues are considered important enough to be a part of our national political discourse.

In short, Prop 37 is about being able to choose what you put into your body. That’s it. It simply allows consumers to make their own decisions about genetically modified organisms (GMOs) - it’s not a ban or even a warning label.

Consumer awareness is important here because there are clear uncertainties about whether GMOs are safe. GMOs are experimental life forms invented by splicing DNA from different species - salmon with eel, for example. There have been some indications that this has been linked to an increase incidence of certain diseases - an independent study, for example, suggested that GMO corn causes tumors and premature death in rats.

These tests are hardly the last word on GMOs, and scientists are deeply divided on whether there are actually health risks. The point is, there may be health risks, potentially serious ones, and we in California - and in America - should be empowered to judge that risk for ourselves. Citizens of 62 other countries already are, including China, Russia, and all of Europe.

There is a lot of money going into the defeat of this bill. GMO companies like Monsanto have already done much to restrict how much independent scientific research can be done on their products. They are now spending $35 million to defeat Prop 37, because greater consumer choice often comes at the expense of companies who aren’t transparent about their products.

I started Practice Fusion to help doctors improve health and save lives by making patient information available anytime, anywhere. This bill is also about making information available, information that is crucial to healthy diet choices. Our company’s mission is one in the same with the objectives of this bill.

That said, we at Practice Fusion are not asking you to take a stand on GMOs. We’re taking a stand because we want you, your families and your patients to be able to make your own decisions on your health. I’m personally taking a stand because I don’t want my son to be at risk for chronic health problems down the road. Without simple, transparent labeling requirements, this isn’t possible.

Proposition 37 can go far beyond California if it succeeds here. Please let your patients, friends and family know the importance of this bill, and learn more about Prop 37 yourself. And if you’re a Californian, please make it out on election day and make an informed vote on this important matter.