Adjunct professor against Prop. 37

Omar Oseguera, Photo and Multimedia Editor

Bakersfield College adjunct professor David Lightsey feels that students need to be informed more on Proposition 37.

Lightsey said he had witnessed many students in his nutrition class being misinformed. Lightsey works with the National Council Against Health Fraud, and is a health and safety speaker for the NCAA.

“If you look at [genetically modified foods] from a strictly science perspective, it’s a win-win situation for everyone,” said Lightsey.

Inside the ballot, voters will see this when making their choice on Prop. 37, “[Passing] requires labeling of food sold to consumers made from plants or animals with genetic material changed in specified ways. Prohibits marketing of such food, or other processed food, as ‘natural.’ Provides exemptions.”

If the bill passes, food that contains any sort of genetic modification will require a label, but this will also result in a price hike on products.

Henry Miller, the founding director of the FDA’s Office of Biotechnology, identified genetic modification of food as a sophisticated gene splicing technique, where genes are maneuvered precisely and predictably.

The purpose of genetically modified food is to make food stronger and longer lasting, in order for the product to be grown in various locations, shipped further away, and sold at lower prices.

Lightsey stated that genetically modified foods were not harmful to people, but rather helpful to all people.

“More people can consume food at a cost that they can afford. Your food is going to last longer on the shelf, it’s going to last longer at home, it’s going to be less vulnerable to fungus in the field.

“You’ll be able to use less insecticides in the field because they will be more resistant, and you will be able to grow them in areas where you typically can’t grow that type of food because it will be modified to grow there,” Lightsey elaborated.

The use of genetically modified foods is what allows big food business to prosper.

The use of genetic modification technology allows companies to expand their market, and to sell at a lower price.

“It’s a huge win environmentally, it’s a huge win economically because it helps keep the cost of food down, and it’s a huge win for people who don’t have agriculture like we do in the valley because they can have anything shipped to them,” said Lightsey.

The proposition does have exemptions, but these exemptions may leave voters a bit confused.

Some foods that are exempt from labeling include: meat made for human consumption, cow’s milk and alcoholic beverages.

These exemptions create confusion because of the high consumption of these products by people. This does not really answer whether genetically modified foods are healthy or not.

Lightsey also believes that this proposition is not being set in order to help people, but rather as an effort to generate lawsuits.

“Attorneys want to use [Prop. 37] as a motivating vehicle for them to make money by scaring consumers. There is not one science organization that is for [Prop. 37],” said Lightsey.

Lightsey felt that students needed to know the science and truth behind genetically modified foods and Prop. 37.

“It’s hard to get that to 18-22 year olds,” said Lightsey. “Basically you’re at school or some of you are working, so it’s hard to really sit down and read the science of it.”