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Issue Date: Vol. 52, No. 12, December 2012, Posted On: 11/14/2012

California Voters Reject Initiative Requiring GMO Ingredient Labeling

Tim Sanford
TAGS: Grocery Manufacturers Association, vending, vending machine food service, California Automatic Vendors Council, California Proposition 37, No on 37, food labeling, genetically engineered food, Food Marketing Institute

SACRAMENTO, CA -- California's Proposition 37, which would have mandated labeling food items that contain genetically modified organisms, was defeated on Election Day. The margin was 54% opposed and 46% in favor.

The Grocery Manufacturers Association (Washington) hailed the voters' decision. "Proposition 37 was a deeply flawed measure that would have resulted in higher food costs, frivolous lawsuits and increased state bureaucracies," GMA said. "This is a big win for California consumers, taxpayers, businesses and farmers.

"Foods and beverages that contain genetically engineered ingredients have been exhaustively studied and all of the leading scientific and regulatory bodies, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), US Department of Agriculture, the World Health Organization and the American Medical Association, have concluded that these products are safe and are not materially different than their traditional counterparts," the association added.

The California Automatic Vendors Council had urged its members to oppose the initiative. CAVC president Larry Atnip, Atnip Co. Inc. (Fullerton) had argued that, although Proposition 37 had been billed as a "consumer protection" measure, it seemed primarily designed to enrich litigators. | SEE STORY

The Food Marketing Institute (Arlington, VA) also applauded the California electorate for defeating the measure. "By rejecting Proposition 37, California voters effectively reinforced the consistency and role of science in our national food labeling system, which is regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture," FMI said.

FMI supported its supply chain partners, the California Grocers Association and the Grocery Manufactures Association in their "No on Prop 37" campaign efforts. "Food Marketing Institute members – the nation's grocery stores – believe that food labels should meet national standards to provide meaningful and consistent information to consumers for the food they purchase and how it is made," the Institute summed up.

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