SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5) – A recent push by opponents of Proposition 37, which would require labeling of genetically modified foods, appears to be driving down support.

Prop 37, which would require the labeling of genetically modified foods, had been polling very well, but a last-minute blitz by opponents of the measure is having a very strong effect.

The measure requires  grocery stores to ensure that all food made from genetically modified products be labeled “Genetically Engineered.” It also prohibits that food from being labeled “natural.”

Exempted are: certified organic food; food made from animals fed or injected with genetically engineered material but not genetically engineered themselves; food sold for immediate consumption such as in a restaurant; and alcoholic beverages.

Prop 37: Read the legislative analyst’s report

The Yes on 37 campaign is backed by organic and natural food sellers who have donated over $4 million to the cause.

The claim is simple: you have a right to know what’s in your food.

They point out that European nations have requirements that genetically modified food be labeled.

All was going well, and public support seemed overwhelmingly in favor of the proposition. A poll by the Los Angeles Times in mid-September showed 61 percent of respondents in favor of the measure, with 25 percent opposed and 14 percent undecided.

Opponents of the proposition, which include big food retailers like Coca-Cola, Hershey’s and General Mills, have raised almost $35 million dollars and earlier this month and started a massive spending spree.

Chances are you have seen the commercials featuring a small farmer claiming the he will be forced out of business if Prop 37 is passed.

Arguments against the measure include, (1) it was written by a Plaintiff’s attorney and will be a bonanza for shakedown lawsuits that put small grocers out of business, (2) this is better-suited for national legislation since a CA-only law would do what our gas requirements have done: caused prices in the state to be much higher than in other states, and (3) the proponents didn’t even try to pass this through the state legislature. As a ballot proposition, it can only be changed later by another statewide vote – prohibiting needed amendments from being made without a big expense.

The arguments seem to be working. A poll released last Thursday by the Pepperdine University School of Public Policy and the California Business Roundtable show that 48.3% of respondents would vote yes for the measure on Nov. 6, while 40.2% would vote no.

Major newspapers including the LA Times, the Sacramento Bee and the SF Chronicle all urge a “no” vote. Indeed, according to Ballotpedia, “Proposition 37, which would require that genetically engineered foods be labeled, is the least popular proposition with newspaper editorial boards. Nineteen of them say ‘No!’, while three say ‘yes’.”

Sherman-Berman Fight

If you think the Joe Biden-Paul Ryan debate was heated, in Los Angeles on Friday two congressional candidates got physical.

The setup: the men are Brad Sherman and Howard Berman. Both are Democrats and longtime members of Congress. However, thanks to redistricting, the men are running against each other for the same seat. They have the same views about just about every issue, so what’s left to debate but whether the other guy is a big jerk. It has been a very nasty race.

In this clip, Sherman is calling Berman (who has white hair) a liar. When Berman tries to defend himself, you can see what happens.

What was the argument about? Berman had been telling the group of college students that he was an author of the DREAM Act, legislation that allows a path to college and citizenship for children who are brought to United States by their parents. Sherman was disputing that claim.

Berman, it turns out, was telling the truth.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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