California's Prop 37: The California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act

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by
Common Dreams

California's Prop 37: The California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act

Ballot Issues We're Watching

by
Common Dreams staff

Prop. 37: The California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act

"Requires labeling of food sold to consumers made from plants or animals with genetic material changed in specified ways. Prohibits marketing such food, or other processed food, as “natural.” Provides exemptions. Fiscal Impact: Increased annual state costs from a few hundred thousand dollars to over $1 million to regulate the labeling of genetically engineered foods. Additional, but likely not significant, governmental costs to address violations under the measure."

YES
NO

The Basics

California's Proposition 37 is a citizens' initiated proposal to get foods with genetically engineered ingredients labeled. 

Proponents of the proposition say consumers have a right to know if the foods they buy have genetically engineered ingredients; and foods containing genetically engineered ingredients should not be allowed to carry a deceptive label of "natural." The Yes on 37 campaign website is here. To donate, click here.

Opponents of Prop. 37 say it would add "government bureaucracy and taxpayer costs" and would cause lawsuits. The No on Prop 37 campaign website is here.

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Yes on Prop. 37

  • As of Oct. 16, the Yes on 37 campaign has raised $7.7 million.
  • Some of the biggest donors to the Yes campaign include:  Organic Consumers Fund, Dr. Bronner's, Mercola.com and Nature's Path Foods.
  • Yes on 37 has been endorsed by groups including the California Nurses Association, the California Democratic Party, the California Labor Federation, the United Farm Workers, the American Public Health Association, Consumers Union, Sierra Club, and Whole Foods.

No on Prop. 37

  • As of Oct. 16, the No on Prop. 37 campaign has raised $35.6 million.
  • The biggest donors to the No campaign include some of the biggest names in genetically engineered seeds, pesticide production and the biggest food conglomerates: Monsanto, Dupont, Dow Chemical, Pepsico, Con-Agra, Nestle and the Grocery Manufacturers Association. The parent companies of many leading organic brands such as Silk, Horizon and Cascadian Farms are backing the No campaign, a revelation that has angered many consumers.
  • No on Prop 37 has been endorsed by the California Chamber of Commerce, the California Business Roundtable and the California Taxpayer Protection Committee.

Public polling on California's Prop 37:

DATE POLLSTER YES NO UNDECIDED
10/21-10/28 California Business Roundtable 39.1% 50.5% 10.5%
10/15-10/21 USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times 44% 42% 14%
10/7-10/10 California Business Roundtable 48.3% 40.2% 11.5%
10/7-10/9 SurveyUSA 39% 30% 31%
9/17-9/23 USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times 61% 25% 14%

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