California voters in yesterday’s U.S. election have rejected a measure that would have made the labelling of genetically modified food mandatory in the state.
With nearly 95 percent of the vote counted, the Guardian newspaper reported today that 53 percent voted against the proposition and 47 percent were in favour.
Only a few weeks ago, polls indicated that a majority of Californians supported the “right to know” proposition.
Over the last couple of weeks, organic food advocates have claimed that Monsanto and other agribusiness giants used vast sums of money to defeat the measure. According to some estimates, the companies and agriculture associations spent $45 million on advertising and lobbying leading up to the Nov. 6 vote.
Despite the accusations of corporate influence, a long list of credible scientific institutions campaigned against the proposed GM labelling law.
The National Academy of Sciences, the American Council on Science and Health, the World Health Organization and the American Medical Association all argued that GM foods are safe and that labelling is unnecessary.
“There is no scientific justification for special labelling of bioengineered foods,” the AMA said in a statement.