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California Legislature Takes up Bill to Label Genetically Engineered Foods

For Related Articles and More Information, Please Visit OCA's Genetic Engineering Page, Millions Against Monsanto Page and our California News Page.

Sacramento, Calif - Answering the call for greater transparency and choices in the food system, California State Senator Noreen Evans (D - Santa Rosa) introduced a new bill today to label genetically engineered (GE, genetically modified, or GMO) foods sold in California. The bill already has support from a broad-based coalition of 17 environmental, consumer, food groups and small businesses called Californians for GE Food Labeling representing over 500,000 Californians. The bill is expected to face opposition from pesticide corporations and industrial food manufacturers.

"Californians agree - we want the choice about the food we put on our dinner tables.We want a choice about the legacy we leave the Golden State's children," said Debbie Friedman, a co-chair of Moms Advocating Sustainability, one of the coalition groups. "Labeling genetically engineered foods gives us the opportunity to make informed decisions about our food, from farm to fork."

Polls consistently show that over 90% of Americans and a majority of Californians want meaningful labels that clearly identify GE foods. Since Proposition 37 - a 2012 measure that would have labeled GE foods - was narrowly defeated in California, dozens of other states have introduced similar initiatives and bills in state legislatures. Two states, Connecticut and Maine, have already passed GMO labeling bills. In Vermont, a GMO labeling bill just passed through the state's Agricultural Committee, and voters in Oregon will likely vote this fall on a similar initiative.

Business leaders such as Whole Foods and Chipotle have also stepped up in the wake of Proposition 37, committing to label GE foods sold in their stores.

"This is an inevitable wave of change," said Grant Lundberg, a third generation rice farmer, CEO of Lundberg Family Farms and former co-chair of the Proposition 37 initiative campaign. "The effort has come full circle to California. The new straightforward bill is an even simpler, clearer version of Proposition 37. It would simply require food sold in California grocery stores to be labeled if it contains genetically engineered ingredients."