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With the 2012 election less than two weeks away, many California voters are focusing their attention on Proposition 37, which if it passes, will require mandatory labeling on foods sold in the state that contain genetically modified organisms.

Joining the campaign urging Californians to vote “yes” on the ballot measure are leading natural food companies including natural food store Jimbo’s…Naturally, wholesale food distributor United Natural Foods and Amy’s Kitchen—a family owned and operated business located in Petaluma, CA. In a statement released by the Environmental Working Group addressing the myth that the measure would increase food costs, Amy’s Kitchen’s CEO Andy Berliner said, “In Europe, food costs have not gone up” as a result of the GMO labeling.

More than 60 countries around the world require labeling of genetically modified organisms—if they don’t restrict them altogether, and polls show that the majority of consumers want to know if their foods contain GMOs.  “We are helping other companies create a better market share. People will have lots of choices, increasing our competition. For all of our companies, this is a core values issue,” said Berliner. “Only in America can you consume genetically engineered foods without knowing it.”

According to the Environmental Working Group, “A similar argument about costs was made before California passed the nation’s first law to label organic foods. The federal government followed suit with national organics standards.” And the national standards helped to regulate organic food prices, bringing them down in most cases, not driving them up. “If many of the farmers who are now growing GE crops switch back to regular crops which require less pesticides, it will affect the profitability and sales of pesticides but won’t affect food costs,” said Berliner. “Yet it will mean that less pesticides are being sprayed into our air, water and land.”

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Image: Attila con la cámara