Voters in Berkeley, California, have rejected a ballot measure that would have ordered all coffee sold in foodservice establishments to be organic or fair trade-approved.

Measure O proposed to impose restrictions on Berkeley’s restaurants, bars and cafés, requiring them to sell only coffee that was organic, grown in environmentally friendly conditions or fairly traded – meaning that coffee growers are paid at least US$1.26 per pound, reported Reuters.

Had the ballot been passed and become law, retailers of the wrong kind of coffee could have faced jail sentences of up to six months. However, the motion was rejected by almost three to one.

Coffee retailers including Starbucks and Peet’s Coffee and Tea, as well as the National Coffee Association, spend thousands of dollars disseminating information to voters to persuade them to reject the measure.

Supporters of the motion had hoped that the city’s famously liberal electorate would approve the Measure, intended to improve the incomes of farmers in the developing world.

Voters in Oregon, meanwhile, also rejected a call to impose strict labelling requirements on genetically modified food. To read about this, click here.