Ballot Initiaive on GMOs fails in California

Lindsay Reames
Assistant Director
Governmental Relations

The property rights constitutional amendment wasn’t the only ballot initiative we were watching on Nov. 6.

Californians rejected Proposition 37, which would have mandated genetically modified foods (GMO) to be labeled as such and was opposed by agriculture groups.

Supporters of the measure argued that consumers have a right to know what’s in their food and that information should be made available on labels. About 60 countries around the world already require such labels, proponents stressed.

Opponents countered that labeling foods would cost families hundreds of dollars a year in higher grocery bills. They also accused the initiative of sowing fear that genetically-engineered foods are unsafe.

The proposition lost steam when local California writers such as The Los Angeles Times Alexandra Le Tellier questioned the science behind some anti-GMO research. “Is it (research) credible?” she asked. “Or is it science for the sake of fulfilling an agenda?” After noting that much of the criticism of GMO foods centered around pesticides, Le Tellier asked, “If the problem is the pesticides, then why isn’t the Proposition 37 labeling initiative about that?” Proposition 37 was defeated 53 percent to 47 percent.

This ballot intitiave was interesting to Farm Bureau because legislation calling for GMO food labeling was introduced and failed in Virginia last year, and we’re sure it will be coming back in the 2013 Virginia General Assembly.

Stay tuned to Plows and Politics and if you havent, please join the Capitol Connections Action Center (contact Kelly Pruitt at kelly.pruitt@vafb.com) for updates on this and other legislative issues.

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