Over one million Californians signed a petition that put a genetically engineered food labeling law on the California ballot for the November election. California has named the issue Proposition 37. As I mentioned in a previous post, Money Bomb Monsanto, it’s important to support the California campaign no matter where you live because California has the eighth largest economy in the world, and any labeling law enacted in the state will have significant influence on all companies producing food that contains genetically engineered ingredients. The food companies will not want to produce separate labels and containers. It is hoped that they will opt to replace GE ingredients as has happened in the over 40 countries around the world that already require labeling.
Although many citizens and food rights groups are for the proposition, there are many who want desperately to defeat Proposition 37. The Coalition Against the Costly Food Labeling Proposition (CACFLP), was formed to organize and promote the campaign to defeat Prop 37. Tom Hiltachk is the PR powerhouse behind the CACFLP. [Some of his previous PR efforts were for big tobacco in the Californians for Smokers’ Rights and for big oil with the Proposition 23 effort in 2010.] There are many, powerful members of CACFLP including the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) whose members include Monsanto, BASF, Bayer, Dow, and Syngenta. I found it especially ironic that the CACFLP’s slogan is “Stop the Deceptive Food Labeling Scheme.” Now, who is really deceptive here? Aren’t they the ones hiding what’s in our food? They don’t want us to know! If genetically engineered ingredients were really and truly safe and good for us, wouldn’t they want them listed on the labels? They gladly add (in fact campaign to be allowed to add) labels like “natural,” “healthy whole grains,” “low-fat,” “no cholesterol,” and a host of other, sometimes meaningless, labels that they hope will increase sales. Ah ha, that’s right, they only promote label additions that they believe will increase sales. That explains exactly why they are so opposed to all GMO-labeling proposals–they believe that labeling will reduce sales!
To underline how serious the coalition’s members are about defeating Prop 37, an interesting California website tells us who is paying and how much they are contributing. The California Secretary of State provides names and dollar amounts contributed by organizations and companies who are against Prop 37.
Here are a few highlights about the donations: organizations donating over $200,000 include Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) ($375,000), Council for Biotechnology Information (CBI) ($325,000), and Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) ($250,000). Companies donating thousands include Pepsico ($54,725), Nestle ($37,287), Coca-Cola ($37,128), Conagra ($34,331), Kellogg ($20,168), and more. By the way, GMA has over 300 member companies, including Pepsico, Coca-Cola, Nestle, Conagra, and Kellogg. CBI members are the leading biotechnology companies—BASF, Bayer, Dow, DuPont, Monsanto, and Syngenta. BIO has many members, including Monsanto, Bayer, Dow, and Dupont.
Total donations to the CACFLP to-date are $1,232,659 from donors contributing more than $5,000. Over 50% of that total is from biotechnology organizations–no surprise there. They have by far the most to lose if Proposition 37 is approved. Pamela Bailey, president and CEO of the GMA, has told soybean farmers that the defeat of Proposition 37 “is the single-highest priority for GMA this year.” Again, no surprise, 94% of US soy is genetically engineered. Bailey said the ballot was “a serious, longterm threat to the viability of biotech in agriculture. . .” She threatened lawsuits if the measure passes, saying the “initiative, if adopted, would effectively be regulated through litigation. Attorneys would bring lawsuits challenging the ingredients and whether a product should be labeled.” She also brought out one of the favorite themes of those against GMO-labeling–high estimates of the increased cost of food directly as a result of the labeling requirement. The cost theme has been used to defeat previous GMO labeling measures in other states.
Just a few of the organizations and groups who want to pass Proposition 37 are the Organic Consumers Association, Center for Food Safety, Food and Water Watch, Californians for Pesticide Reform, the Rodale Institute, the Weston A. Price Foundation, the Pesticide Action Network, and the California Right to Know.
Fighting GMO Labeling in California Is Food Lobby’s “Highest Priority,” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michele-simon/fighting-gmo-labeling-in-_b_1719898.html?utm_hp_ref=tw
This Hidden Food Poisons Your Family – Ignore These Cooked Up Lies, http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/06/14/organizations-on-anti-gmo-labeling.aspx?e_cid=20120614_DNL_art_1
Used in Gardens Everywhere, This “Biodegradable” Product is Likely Carcinogenic, http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/06/12/oca-on-gmo-labeling.aspx?e_cid=20120612_DNL_art_1
California Right to Know, http://www.carighttoknow.org/