Blog: California vote on GM labelling rejected

Michelle Russell | 9 November 2012

A vote that could have seen the implementation of the first labelling requirement for genetically modified food in the US was rejected this week.

California's electorate voted to reject labelling of GM foods by a margin of 53-47% on Tuesday, according to reports, proving that over 4.27m voters in one of the world's top ten economies want their families to know where GM is used in food.

If approved, California would have been the first state to require such labelling for foods sold in the state, and would have prohibited products containing GM ingredients to be labelled or marketed as "natural".

The California initiative, known as Proposition 37, faced an opposition campaign funded by Monsanto Co, DuPont, PepsiCo Inc and others.

Opponents, largely from industry and agriculture, raised over US$45m, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, while the Vote Yes campaign, which was largely backed by consumer groups and the organic industry, raised around $6.7m.

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.


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