• Proposition 37 in California, a ballot measure that would require labeling of genetically modified food, was defeated 53.1% to 46.9%. Advocates of the ballot claim that people have a right to know what is in their food, also noting that other countries require such labeling and that genetically engineered food has not been subject to sufficient testing.
  • Despite having initial support for Proposition 37 (at one point over 60%), the ballot was defeated after a slew of negative ads were run that were paid for by food and biotechnology companies including Monsanto, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, and Kraft Foods. Money played a crucial role, with food/biotech spending $46 million vs. organics and natural food companies spending only $9.2 million.
  • Genetically modified crops now account for more than 80% of the corn, soybeans, and sugar beets grown domestically.
  • Although new efforts to gain support for genetically modified food labeling will be continued in Washington State next year, it is unlikely that label requirements will be changed in this manner. After the California defeat, it will be more difficult to raise funds needed to amass support for food labeling measures.
  • Attempts to require labeling of genetically modified food will also be directed to Washington and the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), which does not currently require such labeling.
Source: New York Times, After Loss, the Fight to Label Modified Food Continues

 

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