We previewed ballot initiatives this week with an eye toward how they might change the politics of soda taxes and the scientifically pointless labeling of foods produced using biotechnology. Today, it looks like those politics did not change. Telluride, Colorado’s Measure 2A, a $1.28 per-gallon tax on soda, will lose by more than two to one while Washington State Initiative 522, which would require “warning labels” on safe foods produced by modern scientific methods, looks likely to fail as well.
If the latter result holds, then Food Election 2013 looks a lot like Food Election 2012. This year, as last year, the anti-choice “food movement” bet big and fell short.
Last year, two California cities defeated soda taxes: This year a Colorado town has done so by an equally overwhelming margin. And while activists are expected to whine about campaign spending, reporting indicates that activist foundations also spent heavily only to fail to get anywhere near persuading a town of just over 2,000 residents.
And in Washington, preliminary returns indicate that Initiative 522, a proposal to require labels on foods produced using biotechnology (“GMOs”), will follow 2012’s California Proposition 37 into the failure record. Reputable authorities such as the American Medical Association find these labels unnecessary, and it appears that Washington voters tuned out the hype from organic food activists, FDA-warned supplement gurus, and a “Magic Soap” company to instead reaffirm scientific rigor.
Last year, Michael Pollan expressed hope that his emotionalist, anti-choice, and anti-business “food movement” was breaking through. Two years later, that movement is still stagnant, and food freedom continues to stand strong against the chattering classes.