Edited by Stuart J. Smyth, Peter W.B. Phillips and David Castle
Chapter 34: Lessons from the California GM labelling proposition on the state of crop biotechnology
In the California State election on 6 November 2012, Proposition 37 was introduced to require mandatory labeling of food sold to consumers that was made from plants or animals with genetic material changed in specified ways. This measure failed to pass with 51.5 per cent of Californian voters opposing it and 48.5 per cent in favor after proponents of the legislation led in the polls by a large margin in the early days of the election campaign (see Figure 34.1). The campaign and the public debate surrounding genetically modified (GM) foods prior to the election was just one battle in a long struggle to shape policies that would impact the fate of crop biotechnologies in the US. The intellectual exchanges, rhetoric and tone of the campaign, as well as the result of Proposition 37 provide insight on biotechnology in the context of agriculture. This chapter analyzes some of these lessons and discuss their implications for the future of agricultural biotechnology.
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