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California GMO food labeling vote could shift U.S. food supply

Analysts say big businesses have a wide variety of concerns about Prop. 37. Sean Hecht, executive director of the UCLA Environmental Law Center, said the measure reminds him of California’s Proposition 65. That decades-old law requires businesses in the state to warn consumers about potentially dangerous chemicals in the products they purchase.  Such initiatives, he said, “provide consumers … a choice about what to buy, and would put pressure on manufacturers to not use these products.” 

And there’s debate about the potential costs for both consumers and manufacturers if Prop. 37 passes. Companies affected by the measure “have an interest in making this sound like an economic burden,” said Matthew Kahn, professor at UCLA’s Institute of the Environment — and they could end up passing that burden on to the public with even higher food prices. “Organic growers will love this; it will clip off some consumers [from the GMOs]. But if I were CEO of a company that produces GMOs, I would remind people that there’s still hunger in America.”

The real test, said Kahn, will come if Prop. 37 passes. “How many people will switch their consumption patterns once the “safer” product is available?” he asked. “Which households will respond to this information — or will the consumers just shrug?”

To read the full article by Bruce Kennedy click here.