An effort to label products derived from genetically engineered sources is on the ballot this fall for California voters, and it may pave the way for legislation in other states.
Proposition 37, as listed by the California Attorney General, will require labeling on raw or processed food made from plants or animals with genetic material "changed in specified ways." The legislation also prohibits labeling of such food or other processed food as "natural."
Exceptions of the proposed regulations include alcohol and restaurant foods, as well as products made from animals fed or injected with GE material.
The proposition, which will be up for full vote during California's elections on Nov. 6, has "stirred the pot" for foodies, farmers and politicians alike. Proponents of the measure say consumers have a right to know what is in their food. Opponents say the sale of some products would be banned unless repackaged, and food costs would increase.
Yes on 37
Advocacy group Yes on 37 California Right To Know supports Prop. 37. The group's media director Stacy Malkan said more and more research is linking GMOs to health problems and fueling the debate.
"Californians have the right to know what’s in the food they are eating every day, and the right to choose whether to feed it to their families. Proposition 37 gives us that right by requiring GMOs to be clearly labeled," Malkan said in a press statement.
The group says the "Big 6" – Monsanto, DuPont, Bayer, Dow, BASF and Syngenta – have donated $19 million to No on 37, a campaign against Prop. 37.
"Monsanto wants to buy this election so they can keep hiding what’s really in our food," said Gary Ruskin, campaign manager of the Yes on Proposition 37 campaign. "They are on the losing side of history. Californians want the right to know what’s in our food, and we will win it."