California’s Proposition 37 to require that many foods containing genetically modified ingredients be labeled failed — despite early polling that showed massive support. A victory in California would likely have had resulted in far reaching changes to the nation’s food labeling trends. The loss in California and a handful of other states means that food labeling remains the same.
Supporters of the proposition cited concerns over human and environmental health as well as corporate ownership of food. Groups in opposition, ranging from Monsanto Co to many of California’s newspaper editorial boards, said that the proposal was poorly written and opened the way for unnecessary lawsuits. They also predicted higher costs for consumers and cited a lack of evidence of health risks associated with genetically modified foods.
In light of the recent decision by California voters, the debate about food labeling is moving on to other venues. A campaign in Washington state is in its early stages, and other states including Oregon, may see momentum for legislative action or other ballot efforts.
Should food be labeled if it contains genetically modified ingredients? Would labeling change your eating habits?
- Andrew Pollack: Biotech reporter for The New York Times