Battle over genetically engineered food heading to voters

A fight over genetically engineered foods has been heating up in the nation’s grocery aisles. Now it’s headed for the ballot box.
Voters will soon decide whether to make California the first state in the country to require labels on products such as sweet corn whose genes have been altered to make them resistant to pests.
Proposition 37 promises to set up a big-money battle pitting natural food businesses and activists against multinational companies including PepsiCo,Coca-Cola and Kellogg. Backers and opponents have already raised nearly $4 million combined for campaigns to sway voters, an amount that’s likely to swell into the tens of millions of dollars as the November election approaches.
So-called GMO foods — those made from genetically modified organisms — have been declared safe by U.S. regulators. But concern persists about the unforeseen consequences of this laboratory tinkering on human health and the environment.
The outcome in California could rattle the entire U.S. food chain. An estimated 70% to 80% of processed foods sold in supermarkets could be affected, industry experts said, along with a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. The measure qualified for the California ballot with nearly 1 million signatures; labeling in the state could set a precedent that’s followed nationwide.

Read more: http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-gmo-food-vote-20120720,0,2452357.story

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