SAN FRANCISCO, May 2, 2012 -- In victory rallies across state today, supporters celebrated as the California Right to Know campaign filed 971,126 signatures for the state's first-ever ballot initiative to require labeling of genetically engineered foods. The huge signature haul, gathered in a 10-week period, is nearly double the 555,236 signatures the campaign needs to qualify for the November ballot.
If passed this November, Californians will join citizens of over 40 countries including all of Europe, Japan and even China who have the right to know whether they are eating genetically engineered food.
"I am so proud of the army of volunteers, many of them mothers and grandmothers, who stood tireless in the rain and cold to gather signatures," said Pamm Larry, a former midwife, farmer and longtime Chico resident, who initiated the California Right to Know campaign through her group Label GMOs. "Thousands of volunteers across the state contributed to this victory. The people of California have spoken: we will have the right to know what we're eating and no one will stop us."
"This bumper crop of signatures is a testament to the desire of Californians to know what's really in our food," said Grant Lundberg, CEO of Lundberg Family Farms and a third generation rice farmer and food processor. "It is a rich harvest of support for the right to know and the right to choose."
Labeling genetically engineered foods is a wildly popular idea and enjoys nearly unanimous support across the political spectrum. A March 2012 Mellman Group poll found that 9 out of 10 American voters favor labeling for genetically engineered food.
"In a country seemingly dominated by partisan polarization on everything from the cause of hurricanes to the state of the economy, it's hard to find issues, outside of motherhood and apple pie, that can muster over 90 percent support …we found one," pollster Mark Mellman wrote in a recent article in the Capitol Hill newspaper The Hill.
"Voters express almost unanimous support for mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods," Mellman wrote.
"The right to know is a fundamental right and a bedrock American value," said Stacy Malkan, media director of the California Right to Know campaign.
"This November, the voters of California will surely vindicate our right to know what's in the food we eat and feed our children."
For more information about the California Right to Know initiative to label genetically engineered food, go to www.carighttoknow.org.