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Win for Democracy: Sonoma County Votes to Ban GMO Crops

November 9th, 2016
Center for Food Safety

Local Victory has Big Impact on Food, Farmers and Environment

SAN FRANCISCO—Today Center for Food Safety celebrates a huge victory for voters in Sonoma County, California who voted to approve a measure that will prohibit genetically engineered crops from being planted in the county. The passage of the Sonoma County Transgenic Contamination Ordinance, better known as Measure M, will protect local and organic growers and producers who choose not to plant GMO seed.

“Enacting change in the food movement, or any movement, starts at the local level and the passage of Measure M is an incredible victory for Sonoma farmers and gardeners. Farmers deserve the right to grow food that is not contaminated by genetic engineering, just as the public deserves the right to purchase organic or GMO-free foods that are free from GMO contamination,” said Rebecca Spector, West Coast Director of the Center for Food Safety.

Measure M passed by a large margin (55.9% to 44.9%), and Sonoma County now joins several neighboring counties including Marin, Mendocino, Humboldt, Trinity and Santa Cruz that have passed similar ballot initiatives to protect farmers and crop integrity.

Center for Food Safety is especially proud to see the democratic process work on behalf of our food, farmers and environment in this case for local food rights. CFS legal staff assisted in the drafting of the Sonoma ballot initiative and provided legal and scientific counsel throughout the last year, as with past county bans in California and in other states. CFS previously worked with campaigns in Oregon and Hawaii to ban the planting of GE crops. CFS also co-authored GE food labeling ballot initiatives in Oregon, California and Washington. When one of the Oregon county GE crop bans was challenged in court, CFS helped defeat that attempt and the county ban stands. Three county laws restricting GE crops and pesticide use in Hawaii have also been challenged in court and CFS is representing the county of Hawaii in one of the cases which is currently on appeal.

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