“The failure of Proposition 37, the initiative requiring mandatory labeling of GMO’s, at the polls this week in California is a sad day for consumers” says Debbie Swanwick, Spokeperson for Soil & Health – Organic NZ.
Over $45 million dollars was funded by big Agri Tech and corporate America to sway voters which resulted in them securing a narrow victory. Fifty three percent of voters opposed the initiative. Monsanto, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, Kellogg, General Mills, DuPont, Bayer and other food and pesticide companies funded advertising and PR campaigns to stop labeling of their products. (2)
Organic products worldwide are labelled because doing so attracts customers who value pure food; free of GE, pesticides and additives. In NZ certified organic food is labelled as BioGro, Demeter, Organic Farm or AsureQuality.
“Big Agri tech keeping consumers in the dark by not labeling suggests not only do they not believe in what they sell but they recognize there could be a consumer backlash if GMO’s had to be labelled” says Swanwick.
“The fact they had to spend $45 million dollars says something else – it suggests public opposition to GMO’s in the US is strong – which is also true here” says Swanwick.
California grows 80% of all the fruits and vegetables in the US (3) and Prop 37 was seen as a testbed case for the US as a whole. (2)
Despite the loss, proponents of the initiative have vowed to fight on. (1) In addition to California many other states (including Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, West Virginia and Washington) have also proposed legislation requiring that food labels bear information disclosing GE content. (4)
“The failure of Prop 37 paves the way for the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement, to be tabled in December this year, to demand revocation of existing GMO labeling laws in New Zealand” says Swanwick.
“Since the 1960’s the only way to ensure the purity of food is to buy organic. Legislation which permits big Agri tech to not disclose what is in their products is merely forcing more consumers to vote with their wallets which is why organic sales worldwide are increasing dramatically and forecast to double by 2015” says Swanwick.
Soil & Health is one of the oldest organic organisations in the world and promote GE free, organic, fresh and healthy food. Oranga Nuku, Oranga Kai Oranga Tangata.