Proposition 37, which would have required labeling of genetically modified foods, was soundly defeated Tuesday in California, the San Jose Mercury News reports.
The measure trailed 53 percent to 47 percent with nearly 90 percent of the vote counted at 3:30 a.m. (PT)
Proposition 37 advocates relied on social media and a strong grass-roots campaign in hopes of making California the first state in the nation to require a “genetically modified” label on a host of food products, from breakfast cereals to tofu.
But supporters were outgunned by a highly organized “no” campaign, which poured $46 million into defeating Proposition 37 and blanketed the state with advertising.
The yes campaign raised $9.2 million, with the largest contribution coming from Joseph Mercola, a popular holistic health activist from Illinois.
The no side raised $46 million and spent nearly $27 million on radio, television and internet advertising across the state. St. Louis-based Monsanto, a leading maker of genetically engineered seeds, was the largest single contributor with $8.1 million.
The battle over Proposition 37 was an unusually high-profile fight because it pitted businesses against businesses. Big natural-food companies, celebrity chefs and several organic farmers were on one side, while a variety of traditional farmers and chemical, seed and processed-food firms were on the other, as were the majority of independent grocers.
“Thanks to all who have supported us,” said the Yes on 37 campaign in a tweet shortly before 1 a.m. “This is the first round of many!”