California lawmakers reject bill requiring labeling on GMO foods

Thu May 29, 2014 9:43am EDT

A group of demonstrators hold signs during a rally in support of the state's upcoming Proposition 37 ballot measure outside the Ferry Building in San Francisco, California October 6, 2012.  REUTERS/Stephen Lam

A group of demonstrators hold signs during a rally in support of the state's upcoming Proposition 37 ballot measure outside the Ferry Building in San Francisco, California October 6, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Stephen Lam

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(Reuters) - (This May 28 story was corrected in the seventh paragraph to delete erroneous reference to a genetically modified wheat)

California lawmakers on Wednesday rejected a bill that would require labels on foods made with genetically modified organisms (GMOs), the second time in two years such legislation has failed to take hold in the state.

Proponents of the bill had sought to make California the second state in the country after Vermont to require GMO labeling, but the measure failed to pass the state Senate by two votes.

Democratic Senator Noreen Evans, the bill's author, was planning to push a reconsideration vote on Thursday before the end of the legislative session.

The bill would require all distributors who sell food in California to label the product if any of the ingredients have been genetically engineered. The labeling law would exclude alcohol and food sold at farmers markets.

"This bill is a straightforward, common-sense approach to empowering consumers," said Evans. "If the product contains GMOs, label it. We shouldn't be hiding ingredients."

In 2012, a similar labeling bill looked poised to pass but was narrowly defeated by California voters after a last minute, $46 million media blitz funded by opponents, including PepsiCo and Missouri-based Monsanto Co, a multinational chemical, agricultural and biotechnology corporation.

More than 60 countries around the world have adopted GMO labeling, with supporters saying genetically modified organisms found in some food ingredients, like soy and corn, pose a threat to human health.

Labeling advocates also argue that consumers have a right to know everything that goes into their food.

Opponents say GMOs are not only safe but necessary to ensure the future of the world's food supply, allowing scientists to develop crops that are resistant to changing environmental conditions.

The 2012 defeat of the GMO labeling bill known as Proposition 37 prompted calls in Washington for a national labeling law.

A petition drafted by the Center for Food Safety, a national environmental advocacy non-profit, asked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to require distributors to label GMO ingredients in food products.

Earlier this month, Vermont became the first U.S. state to pass a GMO labeling law, and two counties in Oregon voted last week to ban farmers from growing genetically modified crops within their local boundaries.

(Editing by Victoria Cavaliere and Joseph Radford)

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Comments (2)
theovulator wrote:
Should the article title rather read “bought and paid for” California lawmakers…..?

Is it reasonable for us to ask that all products purchased by any consumer in the U.S., or anywhere for that matter, have contained and detailed within the products labeling, EVERY ingredient contained therein, even to the smallest and most minute detail?

Do those who oppose detailed labeling consider it UNREASONABLE for those who buy their products to know what’s in them?

This whole farce, projected by the huge corporations that are opposed to detailed labeling, stating that it will substantially increase costs to consumers, do they REALLY consider it a costly thing to type a few extra words or sentences into the computer that produces all the labels for their products?

Do they believe that the average consumer is ignorant to this fact?

Really, how expensive could it be?

All they have to do is type in all of the ingredients of their products into the computer that makes the labels and press go. It’s as simple as that.

Or is it MORE than that?

Have they not already spent more money in opposing this then what it would cost to just implement it?

Perhaps they themselves do not know what’s in their own products?

Or perhaps they just consider their genetically modified ingredients to be INFERIOR to what is natural?

Do they consider their position so weak so as to not be able to stand up to scrutiny and debate? And do the California lawmakers think so also?

A reasonable mind should wonder, “Why are these big corporations so opposed to this”?

And should not California citizens wonder? Why are my elected officials standing up for huge corporations and not standing up for me, and my children. . . . For all of us citizens who eat this stuff?

Why have these big corporations spent so many millions of dollars opposing this?

ARE they trying to hide something?

Is it because these big corporations fear that consumers will read about, and conclude that, the genetically modified ingredients that are in the products that they want us to buy is just all adulterated crap? And that it will scare us, and make many of us think, “no way do I want to eat this tainted stuff or feed it to my kids”?

Ask yourselves, are the above questions REASONABLE questions?

And why don’t the “California lawmakers” think so? What’s in it for them that they should oppose this?

What’s in it for them that they have chosen to side with big corporations instead of their own constituent electorate consumers?

May 29, 2014 2:35am EDT  --  Report as abuse
SmilinSam wrote:
I am more interested in why farmers markets and alcohol are excluded. Is it because they don’t know what’s in the food they sell?

Pretty much all brewers and vintners yeasts are genetically modified organisms. Did you know that? Yes, even the one’s from Italy and France, where they are supposedly so anti-GMO.

It’s everywhere people. Get over it. It’s not killing us or making us sick. This would just make things more expensive for everyone…and we all know the world needs more expensive food.

It’s not just cost of labeling, it is the tracking, auditing and assurance that is behind it.

Jun 04, 2014 2:57pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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