What Comes After Prop 37 Ballot Initiative For GMO Labeling Activists?

November 12, 2012 in Food by Gina-Marie Cheeseman

Right 2Know March (GMO Labeling)

Right 2Know March (GMO Labeling) (Photo credit: Daquella manera)

California’s ballot initiative to require GMO foods to be labeled suffered a narrow defeat of 53 to 47 percent. Called Prop 37, corporations like Monsanto and Dow poured almost $50 million into the campaign against the initiative. Although defeated, Prop 37 started a movement to require GMO foods to be labeled. As an Alternet article puts it, Prop 37 “focused a national spotlight on GMOs.” The article goes on to state that the ballot initiative “permanently altered the national debate surrounding food safety, chemical-intensive agriculture, and sustainability.”

Activists who want GMO foods to be labeled are not wasting time, but capitalizing on the movement the campaign for Prop 37 created. Right after the defeat of the initiative, a coalition (Food Democracy Now, Green America, Institute for Responsible Technology, Foodbabe, Nature’s Path and Nutiva) founded the GMO Inside campaign. The campaign was launched last week on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

“The GMO Inside campaign will make it possible for all Americans to find GMOs in the food products in their homes and communities, label them, and switch to non-GMO foods instead,” said Alisa Gravitz, CEO of Green America. “The campaign will show corporations that people will not complacently serve as lab rats for the testing of genetically engineered foods.”

“We are disappointed but not deterred by this defeat,” said John W. Roulac, CEO and founder of Nutiva—world’s leading organic superfood brand. “GMO Inside was created to catapult the energy from the fight for Prop 37 to the next level. Our goal is to bring greater awareness to consumers nationwide about the dangers of GMOs and educate on what they can do to make a change.”

One way to get GMO foods labeled is to pressure the FDA to require labels. The Center for Food Safety filed a legal petition with the FDA asking them to require the labeling of GMO foods. The organization also started a Just Label It Campaign to get one million people to submit comments to the FDA in support of the petition. Although it has surpassed one million comments, the Center is still asking people to continue to leave comments with the FDA.

Clearly, the fight to get GMO foods labeled continues beyond the defeat of Prop 37. The giant agro-chemical companies can keep pouring out money to convince the American people that GMO foods are safe and do not need labels, but poll after poll shows that they remain unconvinced.

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