California voters rejected the "Right to Know" ballot measure that would have made the state the first in the nation to require that foods with GMO ingredients be labeled.
With 95% of the vote counted, it was defeated 53-47%.
60% of voters favored the measure until the avalanche of misleading ads from pesticide and big food companies.
"Corporations that produce both the genetically engineered crops and their designer pesticides, in concert with the multi-billion-dollar food manufacturers that use these ingredients, fought this measure tooth and nail, throwing $46 million at the effort, says Mark Kastel of the watchdog Cornucopia Institute.
The biotechnology and food manufacturing industry’s efforts to defeat Proposition 37 revealed just how terrified these corporations were of consumers knowing what they are eating, says Kastel.
"If corporations truly believed that genetically engineering our food supply is in society’s best interest, they should be happy for consumers to know which foods contain their genetically engineered materials," says Cornucopia’s Kastel. "Their obvious fear of people knowing what they’re eating raises serious questions about their products’ safety, and more and more consumers are making that connection."
While labels are required throughout Europe, and by scores other countries worldwide, and over 90% of US citizens favor it according to polls, both Republicans and Democrats in Washington have been unwilling to address the issue, likely due to massive campaign contributions from the biotechnology and agribusiness lobbies.
The campaign to label GMO foods also sheds light on the dedication to organic principles, or lack thereof, by the corporate ownership of many iconic organic brands. Organic consumers have flooded consumer relations phone lines and Facebook pages of organic and "natural" brands such as Horizon Organic (Dean Foods), Silk (Dean Foods), Kashi (Kellogg) and Cascadian Farm (General Mills) after learning the corporate owners of these brands were spending millions of dollars to defeat Proposition 37.
"We hope knowing which companies supported GMO labels and which companies spent hard to fight it will empower people to vote in the marketplace and support the true heroes in this industry," Kastel adds.
Here’s the list of companies for and against: