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GM labeling defeated in California

California’s Proposition 37, which would have required labeling of genetically modified foods, was defeated in Tuesday’s election by a margin of 53 to 47 percent.  Passage of the ballot measure would have made California the first state to require labeling of genetically modified foods.

Activist organizations, agribusinesses, and farmers were active in intensive lobbying for and against the measure.

The measure was soundly defeated in agricultural areas of the state.  In Tulare County, the vote was 67 to 33 percent opposed, according to the California secretary of state website. In San Joaquin County, the vote was 60 to 40 opposed, while next door in urban Alameda County, the vote was 57-43 in favor.

“I’m excited,” Jonalee Henderson, a Colusa County farmer, told the Pensinsula Press. “The No on 37 campaign has done a lot to get the facts out. It’s great to see all their hard work generating results."

Ted Sheely, a San Joaquin Valley farmer and industry spokesman, wrote that Proposition 37 was “full of political agendas, bizarre contradictions, and hidden costs that will drive up your grocery-store bill.”

The Cornucopia Institute, a research and educational organization that lobbied in favor of the measure blamed its defeat on a “deluge of allegedly misleading advertisements paid for in large part by pesticide and biotechnology corporations.”
In October, the Board of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) issued a policy statement claiming that “foods containing ingredients from genetically modified (GM) crops pose no greater risk than the same foods made from crops modified by conventional plant breeding techniques.

"Legally mandating labels on GM foods could therefore mislead and falsely alarm consumers,” the AAAS Board said.

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