The Proposition 37 breakdown

It didn’t pass, but supporters are undeterred

November 12, 2012

At the polls last week, California’s Proposition 37 — the initiative to label genetically modified food sold in the state — failed to pass. But pro-labeling supporters aren’t disheartened.

As the nonprofit Pesticide Action Network noted, “We succeeded in raising the profile of the issue, who’s behind it and what’s at stake in our food system.” Food Democracy Now pointed out that “a petition effort is underway to pressure the federal Food and Drug Administration to take up the issue of labeling.”

What were the numbers? The measure was defeated by 53 percent to 47 percent, which labeling supporters said wasn’t so bad, given the disparity in money on the issue: promoters spent a mere $9 million on advertising, while Big Ag spent a whopping $46 million on campaigns attacking the measure.

On Mother Jones, meanwhile, Tom Philpott asked what the failure of Proposition 37 meant for the food movement:

Given the formidability and deep pockets of the opposition, I think it’s overblown to treat Prop 37 as a pass-fail test of the food movement’s political viability. The movement made a strong move at the king and missed, but it isn’t going anywhere.
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