Measure to require GMO labeling fails in California

by Ron Sterk
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SACRAMENTO, Calif – A ballot measure in California known as “Proposition 37” that would have required labeling of food from bioengineered plants or animals was defeated in Tuesday’s voting, according to late vote tallies from the state.

With 98.5 percent of the precincts partially reporting results as of 8:19 a.m. Central Time, there were 4,809,628 votes against the measure and 4,260,123 votes for it, according to semi-official results from the California Secretary of State’s office. The margin was 53 percent against the measure and 47 percent for it.

Titled “Genetically Engineered Foods. Labeling. Initiative Statute.” and commonly referred to as Proposition 37, if passed would have required “labeling of food sold to consumers made from plants or animals with genetic material changed in specified ways.” It also would have prohibited marketing of such food or other processed for as “natural.” Certain organic foods “unintentionally produced with genetically engineered material” would have been exempted, as were animals fed or injected with bioengineered material but not bioengineered themselves and certain other items, including alcoholic beverages.

The Secretary of State’s web site indicated the measure if passed would have increased annual costs “from a few hundred thousand dollars to over $1 million to regulate the labeling of genetically engineered foods.”

Opponents of the measure said it would have raised the food costs to consumers an average of $400 per year. Major food companies including Kellogg, PepsiCo, Kraft Foods, General Mills and ConAgra, and many farm groups opposed the measure.

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