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Ag Alert Update: Farm Bureau welcomes defeat of food labeling initiative

The largest organization representing California family farmers and ranchers thanked voters today for rejecting a ballot initiative that would have required foods containing genetically engineered ingredients to carry a special, California-only label. The California Farm Bureau Federation opposed Proposition 37, which voters defeated in yesterday's statewide election.

"We're pleased that voters saw the many flaws in Proposition 37 and rejected it," California Farm Bureau President Paul Wenger said. "It would have created confusion about food safety and raised food costs, and it would have created all sorts of complications for family farmers and others who grow or sell food."

Despite the defeat of Proposition 37, Wenger said farmers understand that many people want to know more about how their food is produced.

"No matter what crops they grow or how they grow them, farmers want to provide the food and farm products that people want and need," he said, adding that Farm Bureau supports continued research and education to broaden understanding of genetically engineered foods.

"While it's true that California farmers don't grow a lot of genetically engineered crops, we believe biotechnology holds promise to provide environmental benefits and nutritional improvements for a growing population," Wenger said. "While we seek to fulfill that promise, we will continue to support the current, comprehensive regulatory program that ensures biotech crops are safe and are produced in a way that protects the environment. We believe biotech crops to be safe, but if people choose not to consume foods produced through biotechnology, there are alternatives such as organic products or those voluntarily labeled as being made without use of genetically engineered ingredients."

Wenger also expressed pleasure with the re-election of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, whom he described as a consistent, effective advocate for California farmers and ranchers.

"Throughout her career in the Senate, Dianne Feinstein has pressed for reforms important to farmers and ranchers, on issues such as the estate tax, immigration reform and water supply," Wenger said. "We look forward to continuing to work with her to assure that California agriculture sustains the food production and environmental benefits that are crucial to our state and to the nation."

Permission for use is granted, however, credit must be made to the California Farm Bureau Federation when reprinting this item.

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