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California Food Fight Pits Corporate Ads Against "Status Updates"

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

Genetically modified food promises to cheaply feed the world, but is it dangerous? The agriculture industry will tell you no, organic food advocates will tell you yes, and science won't give you a firm answer because test results are inconclusive so far.

TechCrunch, meanwhile, won't tell you much on food tech topics like this because we usually focus on what's interesting in Silicon Valley (which hasn't been an agriculture hub for the last 70-odd years).

However, one long-time tech entrepreneur is trying to draw attention to the issue using the latest social media tools, and has gotten some interesting results from Facebook's new Promoted Posts feature (which gives us a convenient angle to cover the larger issue).

Ali Partovi, the founder of LinkExchange and iLike, and an investor in name-brand companies like Facebook, Zappos and Dropbox, has been campaigning for a California proposition that would require food suppliers to tell consumers when they're eating food made from genetically modified organisms.

If the state's voters approve it this November, Proposition 37 will require labels on raw or processed food made from plant or animal products containing GMOs. It will also prohibit labeling or advertising GMO-derived food as "natural." While supporters claim the law could create onerous labeling issues for the industry (unlikely), that's also a problem that they've solved for the 60 other countries where similar labeling is already required, including all of Europe, Russia, India and China.

More obviously, disclosing GMOs in food could give consumers pause, and hurt corporate sales, as organic food advocate Michael Pollan noted in this great New York Times piece last weekend.
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