Proposals to require labels for foods containing genetically modified ingredients so far have a spotty record at the ballot box. Another defeat arrived Tuesday in St. Louis, this time at the annual shareholder meeting of Monsanto Co.

Investors in the GMO seed maker overwhelmingly rejected a shareholder proposal that would have pushed Monsanto to get behind labeling efforts itself - after it spent millions lobbying against such measures at the state level. Only about 4% of Monsanto shares were voted in support of the effort.

The shoot-the-moon proposal did, however, bring Monsanto Chief Executive Hugh Grant to personally debate some fierce critics of his company's business practices - something he acknowledged Monsanto hasn't done much of in the past.

"We simply haven't engaged enough at the level we should have with all of our audiences, and for that, we apologize," Mr. Grant said at the meeting. "There's a recognition we need to do more."

As anti-GMO protesters rallied near the event among cars festooned with giant, grinning vegetables, Mr. Grant got his chance at such engagement. He faced critiques during the meeting from a handful of consumer advocates who derided the company for promoting pesticide use and using its influence to shroud food origins in mystery. The advocates said they represented owners of Monsanto stock.

Shareholder efforts to wrangle Monsanto's support for GMO labeling come as advocates of such measures battle state-to-state against agricultural and packaged-food companies, which have argued that such measures will raise the cost of food and unfairly give the impression that crops grown with genetics designed to withstand weedkillers and pesticides are not safe.

New Hampshire legislators last week became the latest state to reject such a measure, following the defeat of a highly contentious ballot initiative in Washington state in November. Maine and Connecticut, meanwhile, in recent months have passed laws requiring such labels, though these don't go into effect until other states approve similar measures. Proposals are pending in other states as well.

Comment: The result of various 'state initiatives' to label GMO food:

Leaked! Food lobby threatens to sue any state that tries to label GMOs
Monsanto Threatens to Sue Vermont if Legislators Pass a Bill Requiring GMO Food to Be Labeled
'Army of lobbyists' led by Monsanto helped neuter GMO labeling law in Connecticut
Mainstream Media Blackout: Maine Second State to Pass GMO Labeling Law
Why PepsiCo Is Fighting GMO Labeling in California
Monsanto took over regulatory bodies all over the world to lobby GMO

Monsanto hates democracy: Fascism seems to work best
Monsanto knows that democracy doesn't work for them, so they're not taking any chances with it. They'll fight us at the local and state level when they have to, but when they get a chance, they're going to take us to a place far way from the voters where it's hard to hear their voices and where money talks very loudly: Congress.

This is what they did when the Center for Food Safety's lawsuits started having an effect. Monsanto got their main man in Congress Monsanto, Sen. Roy Blunt, to slip the Monsanto Protection Act into a spending bill that Congress had to pass to avoid a government shut-down. It was stuck in the bill at the last minute and it didn't get a vote, but it became law.

"Right now there's a growing movement to label genetically modified food," said Dave Murphy, executive director of Food Democracy Now!, who presented the labeling proposal at Monsanto's meeting Tuesday.
"Monsanto has chosen unfortunately to resist the rights of American people."
Mr. Grant responded that Monsanto supports "voluntary" labeling of foods produced with genetically modified ingredients. That approach, he said, is fairer to consumers who aren't as concerned about the genetics of the grain that goes into their cereal or feeds cattle that yield a particular steak.

The shareholder meeting - the company's first to be broadcast via the Internet - also brought out Monsanto supporters.

Justin Danhof, general counsel for the National Center for Public Policy Research, criticized what he called a "campaign of junk science" against biotech foods. He urged Monsanto to go on the offensive and enlist its scientists as spokespeople on talk radio and other media to "explain the issues and take questions from the public."

"I think it's a really good idea," Mr. Grant said.

Comment: It is a really good idea Mr. Grant! Funny thing is when the so called 'campaign of junk science' actually produces credible research about the dangers of biotech (GMO) foods the Monsanto Corporation harasses and bullies scientists who 'expose the health and environmental hazards'. Read the following article carried on SOTT.NET for more info:

GMO Researchers Attacked, Evidence Denied, and a Population at Risk