Blog: California prepares for GM labelling decision

Michelle Russell | 5 November 2012

A decision that could potentially see the implementation of the first labelling requirement for genetically modified (GMO) food in the US is expected tomorrow (6 November).

The California initiative, known as Proposition 37, could frame the growing national movement over labelling foods containing genetically engineered ingredients.

Major food and seed companies, however, may be on the verge of defeating the California ballot, after managing to sway public opinion through an opposition campaign funded by Monsanto Co, DuPont, PepsiCo Inc and others, according to Reuters.

The campaign, unleashed in recent weeks, seems to have managed to turn the tide of public opinion, the publication reported.

A poll from the California Business Roundtable and Pepperdine University's School of Public Policy found support has "plummeted" from two-thirds to 39% in the last four weeks, while opposition had surged to almost 51%, Reuters noted.

While some supporters believe success at the ballot box would bring one of the biggest consumer markets and food producers in the country in line with labelling laws in 61 other countries, opponents are making the case that labelling the food implies health dangers that haven't been proved.

Adverts by the recent opposition campaign claim the "badly written" initiative would increase the average family's grocery bills by $400 annually and "hobble" California farmers, Reuters noted.

Mark Kastel, co-director of The Cornucopia Institute, a Wisconsin-based farm and food policy research group, recently commented: ""The sad reality is that the Obama administration has done nothing more to make GMO labeling happen than the Bush administration, while accelerating—at the behest of the biotech companies—the review and approval process for an increasing number of genetically modified food crops by the USDA."

The question of whether the use of GMOs in food production is safe has exercised producers, retailers, consumers, campaigners and politicians for more than two decades.

Under certain conditions and contingent on testing, the technology is increasingly being used in food production but campaigners would suggest the questions over whether GM is safe to eat or is safe for the environment, have not yet been comprehensively answered.


BLOG

Food makers pressured to cut salts but Brits fail to see problem

Given the government's efforts to push manufacturers to lower the salt content of foods under the new Responsibility Deal, one would think more would be done - or should be done - to educate people ar...

BLOG

Popularity a challenge and opportunity for US organic movement

Growing demand for organic foods in the US is propelling sales in the sector. Organic products are moving from their niche to gain mainstream traction. Penetration is high - more than 80% of families ...

BLOG

How ABF is fighting back on sugar

The health story of 2014 has been the debate over the impact sugar has on obesity. The issue hit the headlines in January and has stayed there, with only yesterday a study published in the UK calling ...

BLOG

Asda goes all in on gluten-free pledge

With demand for gluten-free on the rise, retailers in a number of countries have been building ranges of products to capitalise on a significant growth spot in challenging trading conditions. In the U...

just-food homepage



Forgot your password?