Updates on GMO Food Labeling
California Proposition 37 which would have required labels on genetically engineered food sold in that state did NOT pass in November. Voters defeated the proposition 53.1% to 46.9%. Considering that the No Campaign, led by corporate giant Monsanto, spent $46 million opposing the measure, while the Yes Campaign spent $ 9 million supporting it, the vote was surprisingly close. The Cornucopia Institute prepared this graphic clearly illustrating those for and against the measure.
The measure passed in most of California's coastal and border counties (except to the west); support for the Prop 37 was particularly high in the mid-coastal region. You can view county by county voting results here.
Food activist Michael Pollan was one of Prop 37’s most vocal supporters. After the measure’s defeat, San Francisco’s Grub Street solicited Pollan’s thoughts. In short, Pollan expressed the view that although Prop 37 was defeated, the fight for good labeling would continue, “…Big Food is playing whac-a-mole with these initiatives all over the country, and it will continue and get very expensive…” Big Food is "feeling beleaguered by its increasingly skeptical and skittish consumers."
The next battleground state for GMO labeling is Washington where proponents of initiative I-522, The People's Right To Know Genetically Engineered Food Act, are working to gather the 241,153 valid signatures required to petition the state legislature to put the measure on the November 2013 ballot.
National coalition Just Label It! continues its efforts to get the Food and Drug Administration involved in this issue.
Finally, according to the Organic Consumers Organization, some 30 states are currently working to require GMO labels.
Although the Prop 37 battle was lost, the war is clearly not over.
Happy Monday! Thanks for reading.
I often blog on food or food issues on Monday in support of Meatless Monday, one of several programs developed in the Healthy Monday project, founded in 2003 in association with Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Communications. Meatless Monday’s goal is “to help reduce meat consumption 15% in order to improve personal health and the health of our planet.”