California voters sent a loud-and-clear message to special interests and anti-biotech agitators: Keep your hands off our food.

The rejection of Proposition 37, a deeply flawed ballot initiative, shows that an informed electorate can make wise choices about food policy. In the face of a propaganda campaign that relied on junk science and scare tactics, 53 percent of voters said no to Prop 37.

The advocates of this radical proposal had a simple but misleading message: Just label it. They sought to require special labels on certain food products that might carry ingredients derived from biotechnology. Yet their unnecessary rules would have raised everyone’s grocery-store bills and raised suspicion without delivering a single consumer benefit.

Prop 37 also would have been a jackpot for trial lawyers, who were its actual authors. Their goal was to rig a system of complex and burdensome regulations, spawning an untold number of petty and destructive lawsuits whose main purpose was to enrich the most aggressive litigators.

Farmers like me condemned Prop 37. So did doctors. The American Medical Association released a statement on the safety of genetically modified food and the pointlessness of politically motivated labeling. Scientists, grocers, and food producers also joined an impressive coalition of truth tellers.

Early signs suggested that the battle would be hard fought. The first polls hinted that voters might approve Prop 37. The organic food industry and its allies pumped nearly $9 million into an effort to coax voters to favor labeling. They understood the stakes: One of Prop 37’s most prominent backers, Mark Bittman of the New York Times, described the initiative as “the most important vote on food policy this decade.”