CTV reports that California will be voting on Proposition 37 – the mandatory labeling of GMO foods – on November 6. “If voters approve the initiative, California would become the first state to require disclosure of a broad range of foods containing genetically modified organisms.” The proposition appears to have a very good chance of passing – the Los Angeles Times reports 61 per cent of registered voters support GMO labelling, while only 25 per cent oppose it.
In mid-October 2001, C-287, a mandatory labeling bill, was defeated in the House of Commons in a vote of 91 to 126. A public opinion poll showed that 95 per cent of Canadians were in support of this legislation. The CTV article adds, “With California a trendsetter on other issues, whatever happens in the nation’s most populous state could spill onto the national stage.” Given the integration of food systems in North America, it is conceivable that the passage of Proposition 37 could create some positive momentum in Canada.
But corporations are fighting against this. “International food and chemical conglomerates, including Monsanto Co. and DuPont Co., have contributed about $35 million to defeat Proposition 37 on the November ballot. It also would ban labeling or advertising genetically altered food as ‘natural’. Its supporters have raised just about one-tenth of that amount.”
As noted in a blog on the Food & Water Watch website, “Backing this bill is a coalition of farmers, scientists, consumer groups like Food & Water Watch, labor unions and over a million Californian citizens who signed the petition to get Prop 37 on the ballot.”