Enlarge Kathleen Masterson for NPR
farmer Erik Freese pulls down a healthy ear of corn that has been
genetically engineered to produce its own pesticide. He says genetic
engineering has helped him to farm more sustainably.
This November, voters in California will
decide whether the state should require labels on foods with genetically
engineered ingredients. If the initiative, known as Proposition 37,
passes, manufacturers would have to say somewhere on the front or the
back of the food's packaging if the product contains or may contain
genetically engineered ingredients.
In the U.S. the vast majority of corn, soybeans, canola and sugar beets are genetically engineered. Those ingredients are in everything from salad dressing to ice cream.
As The Salt reported in May, over hundreds of thousands of Californians signed a petition to get the labeling initiative on the ballot.
So far supporters
of the labeling measure have raised $3.4 million. The amount is dwarfed
by the nearly $25 million raised by opponents. That includes Monsanto,
Campbell's and General Mills, which declined to comment for this story.
the cash disadvantage, recent surveys have the "Label It" camp polling
well ahead of the opposition. Still, they're bracing for a possible
onslaught of anti-labeling ads between now and Election Day.
For more, listen to the story on All Things Considered.