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German Chemical and Biotech Giants Join Anti-Labeling GM Food Fight in California

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Genetic Engineering page, Millions Against Monsanto page and our California News page.

 On November 6, California will vote whether genetically modified food should be labeled - a long-standing practice in Europe. The move has drawn fierce opposition from US corporate interests - and two German firms.

The often-used biblical account of David vs. Goliath doesn't always work when it's applied to modern-day battles between two unequal adversaries, but in the fight over labeling genetically engineered foods in California it does.

The battle pits the combined resources of a vast coalition of agribusiness, food industry and grocery manufacturers against a small group of organic farmers and stores and committed individuals.

At the center of the fight is Proposition 37, an initiative that will be on the California ballot on election day and would make it mandatory to label genetically modified food. In the US there is no national law requiring foods containing genetically modified organisms to be labeled.

And since an estimated 80 percent of food products sold in the US contain genetically modified ingredients, a labeling law in California would force the food industry to set up two entirely separated product streams.

Even worse for the industry is Europe's record ever since the EU made GM food labels mandatory in 1997: Even though GM foods are allowed, the law has de facto kept genetically engineered foods off the shelves in Europe because consumers are simply not buying them. 


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