Colorado voters reject GMO labeling measure News
Colorado voters reject GMO labeling measure

[JURIST] Colorado voters on Tuesday rejected Proposition 105 [text, PDF], a measure that would have required companies to label foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs). According to preliminary results, the measure received only about 32 percent voter approval, with 68 percent opposed [Reuters report]. Supporters of the measure argued [Denver Post report] that a label was not a ban, and would allow consumers to make informed decisions about what to feed their families. A similar measure was considered by Oregon voters, but remains too close to call. A ballot initiative in Maui County to temporarily ban genetically modified crops, however, was passed [Hawaii News Now report] on Tuesday, by a narrow difference of 1,077 votes. Most processed foods sold in the United States contain GMO ingredients.

In February US President Barack Obama [official profile] signed into law [press release] a $956 billion farm bill [text, PDF] providing expanded crop insurance and other benefits for the agricultural sector and also requiring changes in food labeling. The recent prevalence of GMO crops has been a point of contention in courts around the world. In May Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin signed a bill [JURIST report] requiring the labeling of food containing GMOs. In May 2013 the US Supreme Court ruled unanimously [JURIST report] in Bowman v. Monsanto [SCOTUSblog backgrounder] that a farmer who buys patented seeds may not reproduce them through planting and harvesting without the patent holder’s permission, even though the seeds are altered to self-replicate. In March 2011 the European Court of Justice declared [JURIST report] that a ban on cultivating GMO crops is illegal after France attempted to prohibit the production of a strain of genetically modified maize developed by Monsanto in 2008. In December 2010 a US federal judge ordered the destruction [JURIST report] of a crop of genetically engineered sugar beets due to its potential harmful effect on surrounding flora.