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The Los Angeles Times reports that Whole Foods has officially endorsed California's Proposition 37, a referendum that would require the labeling of all foods containing genetically engineered or modified ingredients, though it is not putting its money where its mouth is.

The company said that it supporting the referendum, scheduled to be voted on by California residents on November 6, because "it has long believed its customers have the right to know how their food is produced." However, that support does not extend to financial contributions; the Times reports that "Whole Foods has not contributed to the Yes on 37 campaign, according to filings with the California secretary of state."

The Times notes that Whole Foods has reservations about several components of Prop 37. For one thing, it says that "a 0.5% threshold was too low for exempting a product containing a small amount of genetically engineered content from the labeling requirement. The company also objected to a provision that would allow private attorneys to sue on behalf of the state, alleging a violation of the labeling mandate, should it become law."

As reported on MNB last week, California Grocers Association President Ronald K. Fong has said that if approved, Proposition 37 would create a litigation nightmare for grocery retailers. The initiative, he said, isn't "really about the ‘right to know,’ but is about the ‘right to sue.’ And when it is time to sue, grocery retailers will be on the front line."
KC's View:
I absolutely understand the concerns about litigation. But I also continue to believe that accuracy in labeling ought to be a basic requirement of anyone selling food.