October isn’t just Non-GMO Month; it’s also when California voters will be casting their votes for or against Proposition 37, the California initiative to require labeling on products containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
The initiative, if it passes, would only require GMO products sold in California to be labeled. But the repercussions would be national, even global: How many companies would create specialized labels only for California? The opposition of the biotech industry is strong, signified by the $35 million said to be spent fighting Prop 37, which also would ban companies from labeling products produced with genetic engineering technology as “natural.”
The proponents of the proposition say they’ve raised about a tenth of that. But public support for the initiative appears to be strong. Grant Lundberg, CEO of Lundberg Family Farms and chairman of the right-to-know steering committee for Prop 37, called it “a voter, consumer-led initiative” at a recent discussion on GMOs in Baltimore.
Prop 37 has been endorsed by nearly 2,400 people and organizations including: the American College for Advancement in Medicine, American Public Health Association, and Alliance for Natural Health USA; United Farm Workers of America and the Pacific Coast Federation of Fisherman's Association; the Environmental Working Group and California Democratic Party; biochemistry and agricultural economics professors from universities including Cornell and UC Davis; several Occupy groups, food product manufacturers, and others.
Early voting starts Tuesday, Oct. 9; the final balloting will take place on Election Day in November.