California lawmakers reject GMO labeling bill

The California Senate rejected on Wednesday a bill that would require labels on genetically-engineered foods. This is the second time in two years that labeling legislation has fallen short in the most populous and agriculturally-productive state.

Senate Bill 1381 fell short of passage by just two votes in the 40-member chamber. The bill’s sponsor, Democratic Sen. Noreen Evans, said she would attempt to convince Senate leaders to bring a reconsideration vote on Thursday, according to the Sacramento Bee, before the legislative session ends on Friday.

The measure would demand all distributors who sell food in the state to label their products if any of the ingredients were made with genetically-modified organisms (GMOs). The bill excludes alcohol and food sold at farmers markets.

“This bill is a straightforward, common-sense approach to empowering consumers,” said Evans. “If the product contains GMOs, label it. We shouldn’t be hiding ingredients.”

The labeling bill was supported by organic food producers and environmental organizations. It is opposed by powerful agribusiness and biotechnology companies, such as multinational corporations Monsanto and Dow, as well as major grocers, retailers, chambers of commerce, and non-organic food growers.

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