Calif. Prop 37 & The Big Food Behemoths Trying To Defeat It (Updated)
Calif. Prop 37 & The Big Food Behemoths Trying To Defeat It (Updated)
• Monsanto’s Lies and the GMO Labeling Battle
• New Anti-GMO Documentary: ‘Genetic Roulette’
• Must Watch Documentary: ‘GMO Ticking Time Bomb’
• GMOS: What You Need To Know To Protect Your Health
• Americans Eat More Than Their Body Weight In GMOs Every Year
• New Study Finds GM Corn & Roundup Causes Cancer In Rats
• 2012 Report: GMO Myths & Truths (pdf)
• GM Foods: Harmful or Helpful?
• Calif. Prop 37 & The Big Food Behemoths Trying To Defeat It
• How ‘Big Food’ Has Taken Over The ‘Organic’ Market
• Pesticide Use Proliferating With GMO Crops, Study Warns
• 270,000 Organic Farmers Sue Monsanto
BIG FOOD BEHEMOTHS EMBARRASS THEIR ORGANIC OFFSHOOTS
Wednesday, 10 October 2012
By Jim Hightower
Big Food’s mobilization against California’s right-to-know law is making more green-minded consumers aware of the companies that own their favorite brands.
National brand-name conglomerates are in a bind over California’s Right to Know Genetically Modified Food Act, a measure known as Proposition 37. Actually, it’s a double bind.
First, these gigantic food companies are frantically scrambling to defeat this citizens initiative, which would establish a state right-to-know labeling requirement on any food made with genetically engineered ingredients.
Fearing that its consumers will reject products containing the newfangled stuff, Big Food wants to keep such contents a secret. Since the California market is huge, the state’s adoption of a labeling law would have national ramifications. The $35 million corporate PR campaign against Prop. 37 should come as no surprise.
But many consumers did get a surprise. This media blitz accidentally revealed who actually runs those eco-friendly brands that green-minded consumers prefer. Many multinational companies have quietly bought up dozens of popular organic food firms in recent years without putting their names on the labels.
That way, customers could easily be duped into thinking the organic brands are still scrappy independent businesses.
Now, though, the public is learning that those whole-grain Kashi cereals and crackers are made by a subsidiary of Kellogg, which is spending a ton to defeat Prop. 37. And that General Mills owns Muir Glen, a top producer of canned organic tomatoes. And Dean Foods, a huge “conventional” dairy company, owns Horizon organic milk.
General Mills and Dean Foods are joined in this spending spree to restrict consumer choice by such giant deceivers as Coca-Cola, ConAgra, Hershey, Hormel, Nestlé, Ocean Spray, PepsiCo, Campbell’s Soup, and Sara Lee.
Perhaps the oddest wrinkle in this twisted plot is that some of these Big Food organic subsidiaries already tell consumers on their labels that they their make their products without any genetically modified ingredients.
To keep up with California’s campaign for clearer food labeling, visit www.caRightToKnow.org.
Click here to download an MP3 version of “Just Label It”
TOP 50 OPPONENTS
MONSANTO COMPANY – $7,100,500.00
E.I. DUPONT DE NEMOURS & CO. – $4,900,000.00
BASF PLANT SCIENCE – $2,000,000.00
BAYER CROPSCIENCE – $2,000,000.00
DOW AGROSCIENCES LLC – $2,000,000.00
PEPSICO, INC. – $1,716,300.00
NESTLE USA, INC. – $1,169,400.00
COCA-COLA NORTH AMERICA – $1,164,400.00
CONAGRA FOODS – $1,076,700.00
SYNGENTA CORPORATION – $1,000,000.00
GENERAL MILLS, INC. – $908,200.00
DEL MONTE FOODS COMPANY – $674,100.00
KELLOGG COMPANY – $632,500.00
KRAFT FOODS GLOBAL, INC. – $551,148.25
H.J. HEINZ COMPANY – $500,000.00
HERSHEY COMPANY – $395,100.00
THE J.M. SMUCKER COMPANY – $388,000.00
MARS, INCORPORATED – $376,650.00
COUNCIL FOR BIOTECHNOLOGY INFORMATION – $375,000.00
GROCERY MANUFACTURERS ASSOCIATION – $375,000.00
HORMEL FOODS CORPORATION – $374,300.00
BUMBLE BEE FOODS, LLC – $368,500.00
OCEAN SPRAY CRANBERRIES, INC. – $362,100.00
SARA LEE CORPORATION – $343,600.00
BIMBO BAKERIES USA – $338,300.00
PINNACLE FOODS GROUP LLC – $266,100.00
DEAN FOODS COMPANY – $253,950.00
BIOTECHNOLOGY INDUSTRY ORGANIZATION – $252,000.00
CAMPBELL SOUP COMPANY – $250,000.00
MCCORMICK & COMPANY, INC. – $248,200.00
SMITHFIELD FOODS, INC. – $228,991.85
RICH PRODUCTS CORPORATION – $225,537.15
CARGILL, INC. – $202,229.36
ABBOTT NUTRITION – $187,600.00
DOLE PACKAGED FOODS COMPANY – $171,261.61
KNOUSE FOODS COOPERATIVE, INC. – $135,831.53
WM. WRIGLEY JR. COMPANY – $120,798.99
SUNNY DELIGHT BEVERAGES COMPANY – $96,952.57
BUNGE NORTH AMERICA, INC. – $83,239.32
LAND O’LAKES, INC. – $80,835.48
HERO NORTH AMERICA – $79,073.93
SOLAE, LLC – $61,207.43
MCCAIN FOODS USA, INC. – $52,295.63
FLOWERS FOODS, INC. – $46,685.32
WELCH FOODS, INC. – $44,248.45
GODIVA CHOCOLATIER, INC. – $41,787.83
CLEMENT PAPPAS & COMPANY, INC. – $32,493.78
CLOROX COMPANY – $32,114.83
CALIFORNIA GROCERS ASSOCIATION – $31,000.00
TREE TOP, INC. – $29,338.65
TOP 50 SUPPORTERS
MERCOLA.COM HEALTH RESOURCES LLC – $1,100,000.00
ORGANIC CONSUMERS FUND – $984,639.25
NATURE’S PATH FOODS U.S.A. INC. FINE NATURAL FOOD PRODUCTS – $610,709.21
DR. BRONNER’S MAGIC SOAPS (AND ALL-ONE-GOD-FAITH INC.) – $358,882.70
WEHAH FARM, INC., DBA LUNDBERG FAMILY FARMS – $250,000.00
GFA BRANDS – GREAT FOODS OF AMERICA – $102,000.00
ALEX BOGUSKY FEARLESS REVOLUTION FOUNDER – $100,000.00
AMY’S KITCHEN – $100,000.00
CLIF BAR & COMPANY – $100,000.00
ORGANIC CONSUMERS ASSOCIATION – $79,828.36
FOOD DEMOCRACY ACTION! – $75,000.00
ANNIE’S, INC. – $50,000.00
APPLEGATE FARM ORGANIC & NATURAL MEATS – $50,000.00
CROPP COOPERATIVE INC. ORGANIC VALLEY – $50,000.00
MICHAEL S. FUNK UNITED NATURAL FOODS INC. CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER – $50,000.00
NUTIVA, INC. – $50,000.00
FREY VINEYARDS, LTD. – $25,000.00
GOOD EARTH NATURAL FOODS – $25,000.00
LATE JULY ORGANIC SNACKS, LLC – $25,000.00
MICHELLE LERACH CUPS OWNER – $25,000.00
PHILIP ROSENTHAL WHERE’S LUNCH? WRITER/PRODUCER – $25,000.00
EDEN FOODS, INC. – $20,000.00
KAMUT ASSOCIATION OF NORTH AMERICA – $20,000.00
PRESENCE MARKETING, INC. – $20,000.00
MARJORIE ROSWELL ROSWELL INFOGRAPHICS WEB DEVELOPER – $12,000.00
TRACEY MCGRATH TRACEY MCGRATH ARTIST AND INVESTOR – $10,125.00
ACE HOLDINGS LLC – $10,000.00
EARTHBOUND ORGANIC FARM – $10,000.00
FRONTIER NATURAL PRODUCTS CO-OP – $10,000.00
GARY HIRSHBERG STONYFIELD FARM, INC. CHAIRMAN – $10,000.00
HEALTHFORCE, INC. – $10,000.00
KAMUT INTERNATIONAL, LTD. – $10,000.00
KATRINA VAN LENTE FREY FREY VINEYARDS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR – $10,000.00
MULTIPLE ORGANICS, INC. – $10,000.00
NEW CHAPTER – $10,000.00
PACIFIC FOODS OF OREGON, INC. – $10,000.00
SAMBAZON, INC. – $10,000.00
SCOTT NASH MOM’S ORGANIC MARKET NATURAL FOOD RETAIL STORE – $10,000.00
MARK SQUIRE GOOD EARTH NATURAL FOODS BUSINESS OWNER – $8,000.00
COMMITTEE FOR HUMBOLDT GREEN GENES – $7,708.00
JOHN FORAKER ANNIE’S, INC CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER – $7,500.00
SKY VALLEY FOODS – $7,500.00
EDWARD & SONS TRADING COMPANY, INC. – $7,200.00
MINTWOOD MEDIA COLLECTIVE – $6,250.00
JOAN MURPHY KAISER PERMANENTE PHYSICAL THERAPIST – $6,000.00
AUBREY ORGANICS – $5,000.00
BRIAN SHILHAVY TROPICAL TRADITIONS CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER – $5,000.00
BURROUGHS FAMILY FARMS – $5,000.00
DEBORAH SALKIND N/A HOMEMAKER – $5,000.00
MARY K. BLASY SCOTT + SCOTT LLP ATTORNEY – $5,000.00
Download a copy of this 2012 report here (pdf)
FACTS – YES ON PROP 37
WHY LABELING GMOS IS IMPORTANT
What is Proposition 37?
Proposition 37 is a common-sense November ballot measure that will help consumers make informed choices about the food they eat. Written with broad input from food groups, industry, science, legal and health experts Prop. 37 (The California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act) requires clear labels letting consumers know if foods are genetically modified.
What Are Genetically Engineered Foods (GMOs)?
A genetically engineered food is a plant or meat product that has had its DNA artificially altered in a laboratory by genes from other plants, animals, viruses, or bacteria in order to produce foreign compounds in that food. This type of genetic alteration is not found in nature and is experimental. Many of the foods we currently eat and feed our families (including certain baby formulas and a high percentage of corn, soy, cotton and sugar beets commonly used in processed foods sold in the U.S.), but we don’t know which ones without labeling.
Example: Genetically Modified corn has been engineered in a laboratory to produce pesticides in its own tissue. GMO corn is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency as an Insecticide, but is sold unlabeled. Walmart is now selling Monsanto’s sweet corn that has been genetically engineered to contain an insecticide, but consumers don’t know because it’s not labeled.
Are Genetically Engineered Foods Safe?
GMOs have not been proven safe, and long-term health studies have not been conducted. A growing body of peer-reviewed studies (pdf) has linked these foods to allergies, organ toxicity, and other health problems. These studies must be followed up. However, unlike the strict safety evaluations required for the approval of new drugs, the US Food and Drug Administration does not require safety studies for genetically engineered foods. The United Nations/World Health Organization food standards group and the American Medical Association have called for mandatory safety testing of genetically engineered foods — a standard the U.S. fails to meet.
GMOs Linked to Environmental Problems: Various environmental problems associated with genetic engineering have been well documented, including biodiversity loss, an overall increase in pesticide use, the emergence of super weeds that are threatening millions of acres of farmland, and the unintentional contamination of non-GMO and organic crops.
We Have a Right to Know What’s in Our Food: Fifty countries around the world — representing more than 40% of the world’s population — already require GMO labeling, including all of Europe, Japan, India and China. Polls show that more than 90% of Americans want to know if their food is genetically engineered. We are free to choose what we want to eat and feed our children. The free market is supposed to provide consumers with accurate information about products so we can make informed choices.
Who is in Favor of Proposition 37?
Prop 37 was initiated by a grassroots organizing effort with the help of thousands of volunteers across the state, the Right to Know campaign gathered nearly one million signatures from California voters within a 10 week period. More than 2,000 organizations — including media outlets, food manufacturers and retailers, leading consumer, environmental, farming, health, faith-based, political and labor groups — have since endorsed Yes on 37: www.carighttoknow.org/endorsements.
Who is Opposed to Proposition 37?
Not one human being has made a contribution to the campaign against Prop. 37. Instead, the campaign is funded entirely by giant pesticide and junk food companies with a track record of making false claims about the safety of their products. The “No” campaign’s two largest donors — Monsanto and DuPont — are the same companies that told us Agent Orange and DDT were safe. Further undermining the No campaign’s credibility is the fact that its biggest funder — Monsanto — produced a series of ads supporting labeling of GMOs in Europe in the 1990s.
A Simple Proposition for California in 2012: The California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act is simple: The initiative would simply require food sold in retail outlets to be labeled if it is produced through genetic engineering, and would not allow these products to be labeled as “natural.” Prop 37 gives companies 18 months to change their labels, and allows for the GMO disclosure to appear wherever they choose on packaging.
No Cost to Consumers or Food Producers: Companies change their labeling all the time, and research shows that Prop. 37 will have no cost impact on consumers or food producers. In a recent study on the economic impact of Proposition 37, Joanna Shepherd Bailey, Ph.D., Professor at Emory University School of Law, concluded that there would be “no increases in prices as a result of the relabeling required.” In Europe, introduction of GMO labeling produced no increase in food costs. David Byrne, former European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection of the European Parliament, stated that when Europe introduced GMO labeling in 1997, “it did not result in increased costs, despite the horrifying (double-digit) prediction of some interests.”
Prop. 37 Doesn’t Ban the Sale of Any Foods: Despite opposition claims that Prop 37 would “ban the sale of thousands of groceries,” it would not ban any foods at all. It merely requires that GMO-containing foods be labeled with the phrase “partially produced with genetic engineering” anywhere on the front or back of packages.
Greater Legal Certainty For Businesses: According to an independent legal analysis by James Cooper, JD, PhD, of George Mason University School of Law, Proposition 37 has been narrowly crafted in a way that provides “greater legal certainty” for businesses than other California consumer disclosure laws. It won’t invite frivolous lawsuits. What it will do is help California consumers make more informed choices about the food they eat.
If Proposition 37 passes, it will be a huge step toward the transparency we deserve. This is about our right to know what’s in our food and the right to choose for ourselves what we eat and feed our families. These are fundamental American values. Join us in helping us win back our right to know about the genetic engineering of our food system. Vote Yes on 37 in November, join our campaign, share our ad, donate if you can (every little bit helps!).