Straus Family Creamery Issues New Packaging to Support Prop 37 and GMO Labeling

Straus Family Creamery has announced it will roll out new packaging in support of the California Right-to-Know Genetically Engineered Food Act, commonly known as Proposition 37.

Starting today, the company's reusable glass bottles and yogurt film will feature a message that conveys Straus Family Creamery's position on Prop 37. "We all have a fundamental right to know what's in the food we eat and feed our children," will appear on the company's products across California.

If passed, Proposition 37 would require foods that included genetically modified (GM) ingredients to be labeled with the words "Genetically Engineered" on their packaging. The law would take effect on July 1, 2014, giving companies an 18-month window to update their packaging.

Straus Family Creamery was an early supporter of the initiative, providing assistance when the campaign was still collecting signatures to bring the initiative on the ballot. In addition to contributing $5,000 to the campaign, President Albert Straus, who has been described an "organic dairy pioneer," and his company have been working to raise awareness among Californians about the potential dangers of genetically engineered foods and the importance of labeling.

GM foods have been a source of constant debate since Calgene introduced the first GM food - the Flavr Savr tomato - in 1994. Supporters say GM foods are a solution to global overpopulation and decreasing land resources, while opponents argue that GM foods pose risks to the environment and human health.

Nevertheless, the safety of GM foods for humans has not been scientifically proven, and animal tests suggest that there may be health risks associated with GM foods.

The American Academy of Environmental Medicine issued a position paper in 2009 that stated that "several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with GM food consumption including infertility, immune dysregulation, accelerated aging, dysregulation of genes associated with cholesterol synthesis, insulin regulation, cell signaling, and protein formation, and changes in the liver, kidney, spleen and gastrointestinal system."

The new message on Straus Family Creamery's packaging in support of Prop 37 is part of the company's education campaign during the critical weeks before Americans go to the polls on November 6th. An estimated 500,000 people will see the new bottles and yogurt containers. The company has also donated cash, tubs of ice cream for GMO-labeling events, and a significant amount of staff time to serve on committees and to act as spokespeople.

Opponents of Prop 37 argue that the labeling scheme would add more government bureaucracy and taxpayer costs, force labels onto packages of safe food, and create new frivolous lawsuits.

Dozens of food corporations, including Dole, Hormel Foods, Land O'Lakes, and the J.M. Smucker Company have donated money to No on 37, a campaign to oppose Prop 37. Many California newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Sacramento Bee, and the San Jose Mercury News, have also come out against Prop 37.

Albert Straus, President of Straus Family Creamery, has said that the opponents' arguments are baseless.

"The opposition to Prop 37 likes to point out that labeling is too costly for manufacturers and consumers," said Straus, "but we can show that we only spend a fraction of a cent per bottle to change the entire information on the back side of our milk bottles. We change our packaging several times a year, which is a planned expense. It has absolutely no effect on our bottom line or on the price to the consumer."

In 2010, Straus Family Creamery became the first and only Non-GMO Project Verified dairy and creamery in the country.