It’s early November 2012, and California is teetering on the precipice of an extraordinary drought that would eventually spark the governor to declare a state of
emergency and strict limits on water use.
But inside their homes, California citizens are experiencing a
diferent type of “natural” disaster, a tsunami of television, radio
and print advertisements attempting to sway voters to either
pass or kill Proposition 37, controversial legislation
that would require all foods made with genetically engineered
ingredients—also known as genetically modifed organisms,
or GMOs—to be labeled as such. It's extremely close:
“Prop 37” fails to pass by just 353,700 votes—a mere
2. 8 percent margin.
Despite the near-equal results, however, those against
mandatory GMO labeling outspent their opponents by a
whopping $37 million. Big Food spent lavishly to convince
WHAT’S NEW WITH GMOS, AND WHY AVOIDING THEM
IS STILL A SMART IDEA.
BY JENNA BLUMENFELD
voters that labeling GMOs would raise food prices by “billions
of dollars” (not true) and dwindle the economy (also not true).
Te largest company that lobbied against the state-specifc
legislation was (surprise!) also the largest manufacturer of
genetically engineered seeds in the world—Monsanto Co.,
the verifable villain of the good food movement, which
donated more than $8 million to the “No on 37” campaign.
Mandatory state labeling is blocked … for now.
Fast-forward to 2016, and a lot has changed. To date,
third-party certifer the Non-GMO Project has verifed more
than 39,000 natural products, making the “butterfy” label
one of the most recognized seals on store shelves. Non-GMO
Project Verifed products garner $19.2 billion—yes, billion
with a “b”—in annual sales, which supports the polls that show
93 percent of Americans would like to see GMOs labeled
on food and beverage packages.