On Nov. 6, San Diegans headed to the polls. In addition to the decisions between Barack Obama or Mitt Romney for president, Carl DeMaio or Bob Filner for mayor, and Scott Peters or Brian Bilbray for Congress, San Diegans were also faced with a Yes or No decision on 11 statewide ballot propositions.
Among these was Proposition 37, which called for labeling on food offered for sale to consumers if the food is made from plants or animals with genetic material changed in specified ways.
Those against Prop. 37 argued that hundreds of scientific studies have shown that genetically altered foods are safe and that “putting scary sounding labels on foods will mislead consumers.” On the other side, those in favor of Prop. 37 contended that genetically modified foods raise a potential danger and that consumers have the right to know what is in their food.
In the end, Prop. 37 was rejected with 52.1 percent of the voters deciding against it. Regardless of this outcome, the presence of Prop. 37 on the ballot and the debate surrounding genetically modified foods, both before and after the election, demonstrates real public concern about the safety of this technology and skepticism of any statements by the scientific community assuring consumers that the technology is safe.