As we’d come to expect, California’s Proposition 37, which would have provided for mandatory labeling of genetically modified foods, failed yesterday 45 to 55 percent. The county map is pretty telling: The state’s progressive cities all voted for the measure, while the Central Valley and its strong farming industry voted against.
The slaughter could have been worse — the latest polling leading in to the election showed only 39 percent support. But as Grist’s Twilight Greenaway points out, this doesn’t mean an end to the food-labeling movement — on the contrary, things are just getting started.
Where electoral politics and California’s crazy proposition system have failed, direct citizen action is picking up the campaign. For some months, “Label It Yourself” has promoted self-regulation at your local grocery store. A “decentralized, autonomous grassroots campaign born out of our broken food system,” its efforts have intensified after Prop 37’s defeat.
From the campaign’s site:
Polls have consistently shown that a clear majority of Americans want to know if food they are purchasing contains GMOs. The US government has been unwilling to cede to this demand because of the powerful biotech lobby. Since we cannot rely on our governments or corporations to give us the real facts, we as eaters are taking back our right to know what is in our food, and our right to make informed choices. We will bring about the change we want to see! If there is nothing to hide then why hide it?
There are downloadable stickers and a Tumblr (infrequently updated) to track and share evidence of self-labeled grocery goods. The corny skull is pretty sweet (like raw cane sugar, not corn syrup) but also pretty intimidating. The campaign claims to not judge individual food choices but to aim for more free-flowing information. Hopefully the grinning face of genetically modified death will scare people just enough that they’ll learn, and not so much that they’ll want to drown their fears in a large bowl of Froot Loops.