Prop 37: David versus Goliath fight
GMO labeling ballot initiative in California reignited movement for safe, sustainable and just food system and consumer right to know
BERKELEY, Calif.– Yesterday, Californians voted 53 percent to 47 percent against Proposition 37, which would have required that foods containing ingredients from genetically engineered crops be labeled clearly. This was a David-versus-Goliath battle with farmers, nurses, parents, scientists and consumers standing up to multinational pesticide and junk food companies. Prop 37 was defeated only after more than $1 million a day was poured into the “No on 37” initiative led by Monsanto and other major agribusiness interests including the Grocery Manufacturers Association.
Lisa Archer, food and technology project director for Friends of the Earth, which endorsed the Yes on Prop 37 initiative, responded:
“We are grateful to the organizers of the Yes on 37 campaign, the thousands of tireless volunteers and the hundreds of grassroots organizations who, despite overwhelming odds, waged an incredible fight for the public’s right to know and a safe, sustainable food supply. We’re proud to have played a small part in this historic campaign. Four million people in California voted for labeling – and that is a great victory in itself.
“The Prop 37 fight struck a deep nerve in the biotechnology industry and among its allies in the junk food industry. Clearly these agribusiness giants are afraid of the public finding out the inconvenient truth about what they’re eating. The only way the industry was able to win yesterday was to outspend the Yes on 37 initiative by a five-to-one margin on a deceptive ad campaign.
“Enormous grassroots support was mobilized as a result of Prop 37, showing a significant and growing number of people are concerned about genetically engineered crops and other emerging technologies showing up in our food and consumer products without our knowledge or consent. In fact, polls routinely show that 90 percent of all Americans support labeling of genetically modified food.
“This isn’t the end of this story, but a new beginning. Friends of the Earth and our allies will continue to fight for safe, sustainable food, for the consumers’ right-to-know, and for the public’s right to have a say about emerging technologies that are being pushed out into the marketplace into our homes without adequate testing, labeling, regulation and any meaningful public debate. Prop 37 has reignited the movement for a safe, sustainable, and just food system here in California and around the world.”