Prop. 37 Votes Are In: No GMO Label Required


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USDA Organic seal means no GMOs. Photo by UDSA.

Californians had the opportunity to say “No” to unlabeled foods made with genetically engineered ingredients during Tuesday’s election.

However, when the votes came in, proposition 37 did not pass.

This means that foods that contain genetically engineered ingredients do not have to have a label showing that they are genetically modified on the package.

What does this mean for you as a consumer?

Finding foods that haven’t been genetically modified is going to require a bit of detective work.

Prop. 37: Voting “Yes” to Say “No”

Sound a bit tricky? You aren’t alone; the wording can be a bit confusing.

Voting ‘yes’ meant that foods sold in California would have a label stating that they contain genetically modified ingredients.

Voting ‘no’ meant that food sold in California that contains genetically modified ingredients would continue to be sold without a label.

According to the California General Election website, 46.9 percent of people voted ‘yes’ and 53.1 percent voted ‘no.’

Even though the measure did not pass, consumers can take action with the oldest voting method out there – voting with your feet. In other words, support companies that do not use GMO ingredients with your wallet. If you’re concerned about buying genetically modified foods, there are some resources available to help you out.

Know Before You Buy

With a little detective work, you can know what you are buying without a label. Here are some ways to help you find out if your food has been altered.

  • NON GMO Project is a website that lists foods and products that are not made from genetically modified ingredients. They have lists for everything from baby food to body care products, pet food, and of course food and beverages.
  • Shop for organic produce and products. For a fruit, vegetable, or product to have the USDA Organic seal, it must not contain genetically modified ingredients.

Whole Food’s 365 Brand is just one organic brand that doesn’t contain GMOs. Photo by: PD-USER

Proposition 37 Fail

Just because proposition 37 didn’t pass, doesn’t mean that there isn’t anything Americans can do to avoid GMO ingredients. Actually, you can do a lot; research, and vote with your dollars. Putting your money into organic, non-genetically modified foods sends a large financial message to large and small companies that you care about what is in your food. As they say, “you are what you eat.


California General Election. State Ballot Measures – Statewide Results. (2012). Accessed November 8, 2012.

United States Department of Agriculture. Organic Certification. Accessed November 8, 2012.

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