A few dozen people are at CELLspace in the Mission District watching national returns on a massive screen while eagerly awaiting the results of Proposition 37 (It’s currently winning at around 68%). The controversial statewide measure will require grocers and food manufacturers to label their products that undergo genetic modification before they reach store shelves. If passed, the measure will make California the first state to ever enforce labeling for foods that undergo genetic modification.
“Over thirty-five million people live in California,” says Grant Lundberg, a member of the steering committee for Yes on 37. “It’s a major market for any retailers and food manufacturer.”
More than sixty countries already have some form of food labeling law, including China, Russia and several countries in the European Union. Supporters of 37 say the U.S. is behind the movement because of strong opposition from major food companies like Pepsi Co and General Mills.
If passed, the law only require a label indicating a food was genetically modified and won’t force food makers to alter the production of their foods.
“About 80 percent of all grocery foods have genetically modified ingredients,” says Lundberg. “They’re using corn, soy, sugar, summer squash and papaya which are the major ingredients that could contain genetically modified ingredients.”