An Introduction to Proposition 37: California’s Genetically Engineered Foods Labeling Initiative

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On November 6, 2012, California voters will decide the fate of Proposition 37, the Genetically Engineered Foods Labeling Initiative. If the initiative passes, genetically engineered foods sold in California will have to be conspicuously labeled with the words “Genetically Engineered” or, in the case of processed foods, with the words “Partially Produced with Genetic Engineering.” It would be the first law in the United States to require any sort of labeling of genetically modified foods.

WHO IS BEHIND THE INITIATIVE?

Proponents of the initiative call Proposition 37 “The California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act.” The initiative was drafted by attorney James Wheaton, president and legal director of the Environmental Law Foundation, a group whose mission includes legal enforcement of a similar “right-to-know” law: California’s Proposition 65. Funding to support the initiative is provided in large part by various osteopathic and organic food groups, including Mercola Health Resources, Organic Consumers Fund, and Nature’s Path Foods.

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