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Indybay Feature

Ban of GMO's in Sonoma County

by Lindsey Williamson
This article describes Sonoma County's recent approval of Measure M, banning genetically modified crops from being grown in the County.
Sonoma County voters who helped pass Measure M have made history for the county. Measure M bans genetically modified crops and seeds from being grown in the unincorporated parts of Sonoma County. With the pass of this measure, they are now one of only 6 counties in California to ban genetically modified crops and seeds. This ban comes as no surprise to the county of Sonoma, as it is increasingly aware and ahead of health concerns, our environmental impact, and sustainable living practices.

Measure M supporters were up against large money makers such as Monsanto, although supporters managed to raise more money for the measure. “Measure M supporters argued a ban is needed to prevent future plantings and possible cross-contamination with other crops, including those certified organic.” (Moore, 2016) This measure provides a bright future for Sonoma County farmers, as well as those who shop locally and wish to see the land thrive in county for many more generations. Albert Straus, a local organic dairy farmer and supporter of Measure M stated, “Passing this initiative is critical to the long-term success of organic dairy farmers and rural economies.” (Sonoma County Counsel, 2016) This measure represents the pride that Sonoma County takes in the purity, reputation, and quality of the farmers and the food that they are growing.

Although the FDA has approved, and stated no health risks to GMO foods, there are various flaws which question the authenticity and certainty of GMOs posing no health risks. One of the most prevalent and noticeable flaws which ensures safety of GMO foods is that food producers are responsible for checking and ensuring the safety of the food that they are producing. (Harrison) It can be assumed that food companies which are using genetically modified engineering, for example the largest GMO food processor Monsanto, will be invested in ensuring that their safety checks will have positive results. However, “Nearly every independent animal feeding safety study on GE foods (not funded by the biotechnology industry) demonstrates adverse or unexplained health effects.” (Harrison) This fact alone should make consumers question the contents and reliability of GMO food.

Sonoma County has surpassed a large amount of the country by approving Measure M, and banning the unknown and potentially dangerous practice of planting and growing genetically modified seeds and crops. Hopefully the success of this measure will persuade other California counties and eventually bring a nationwide standard for healthy, sustainable, and genetically modified free food.

Works Cited
2015. “Food From Genetically Engineered Plants”. U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Retrieved November 9, 2016. (

Harrison, Beth H. 2007-2008. “Shedding Light on Genetically Engineered Food”. Retrieved

November 9, 2016. (
Moore, Derek. 2016. “Measure M, Proposed GMO Ban in Sonoma County, Ahead at Polls”. The

Press Democrat. Retrieved November 9, 2016. (

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