California Rejects Genetically Modified Food Labeling

California Rejects Genetically Modified Food Labeling

For the second time in two years, California lawmakers have shot down a bill that would yield greater transparency by requiring food distributors who sell in California to label foods that contain Genetically Modified Organisms.

So far over 60 countries throughout the world have adopted similar labeling guidelines, according to Reuters. Earlier this month, Vermont became the first U.S. state to adopt GMO labeling. 

Proponents of the move to reveal genetically engineered ingredients say some foods, such as those containing soy and corn, have organisms which could harm human health. 

Senator Noreen Evans (D-Santa Rosa), who penned the bill, calls it a “straightforward, common-sense approach to empowering consumers,” garnering support from advocates who argue that consumers have a right to know what goes into the food that they eat, Reuters notes.

Those opposed to the bill argue that GMOs are both safe and also necessary to sustaining the world’s food supply. Debates also surrounds whether or not genetically engineered foods are less expensive to produce. 

Seed giant Monsanto, the biggest name in GMO industry, has faced protest in California and throughout the world from concerned consumers who view the company’s food supply as posing a major threat to their well being.

The 2012 defeat by voters of a similar bill–Proposition 37–which would have required the labeling of GMOs was seen to have failed in great part due to a last minute media campaign by food and agriculture companies, as well as poor advocacy by the proposition’s supporters, who struggled to overcome concerns about the measure’s economic impact. It was one of the only “progressive” ballot measures defeated that cycle.

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