lawmakers reject bill requiring labeling on GMO foods
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[May 29, 2014]
By Jennifer Chaussee
(Reuters) - California
lawmakers on Wednesday rejected a bill that would
require labels on foods made with genetically modified
organisms (GMOs), the second time in two years such
legislation has failed to take hold in the state.
Proponents of the bill had sought to make California the second
state in the country after Vermont to require GMO labeling, but the
measure failed to pass the state Senate by two votes.
Democratic Senator Noreen Evans, the bill's author, was planning to
push a reconsideration vote on Thursday before the end of the
The bill would require all distributors who sell food in California
to label the product if any of the ingredients have been genetically
engineered. The labeling law would exclude alcohol and food sold at
"This bill is a straightforward, common-sense approach to empowering
consumers," said Evans. "If the product contains GMOs, label it. We
shouldn't be hiding ingredients."
In 2012, a similar labeling bill looked poised to pass but was
narrowly defeated by California voters after a last minute, $46
million media blitz funded by opponents, including PepsiCo and
Missouri-based Monsanto Co, a multinational chemical, agricultural
and biotechnology corporation.
More than 60 countries around the world have adopted GMO labeling,
with supporters saying genetically modified organisms found in some
food ingredients, like soy and wheat, pose a threat to human health.
Labeling advocates also argue that consumers have a right to know
everything that goes into their food.
Opponents say GMOs are not only safe but necessary to ensure the
future of the world's food supply, allowing scientists to develop
crops that are resistant to changing environmental conditions.
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The 2012 defeat of the GMO labeling bill known as Proposition 37
prompted calls in Washington for a national labeling law.
A petition drafted by the Center for Food Safety, a national
environmental advocacy non-profit, asked the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration to require distributors to label GMO ingredients in
Earlier this month, Vermont became the first U.S. state to pass a
GMO labeling law, and two counties in Oregon voted last week to ban
farmers from growing genetically modified crops within their local
(Editing by Victoria Cavaliere and Joseph Radford)
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