Truth in GMO Labeling Law: Who is Supporting and Who is Fighting Laws Requiring Labeling of Genetically Modified Foods such as California’s Prop 37?

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All any even slightly health-conscious eater need do to decide if they want to support a GMO (genetically modified organism) truth-in-labeling law such as California’s Prop 37 is to look at the major donors to both sides of the campaign.

For example, the major donors in support of California’s Prop 37 GMO truth-in-labeling initiative include:

Mercola Health Resources, Organic Consumers Fund, Nature’s Path Foods, Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, Wehah Farm (Lundberg Family Farms), Alex Bogusky, Amy’s Kitchen, Clif Bar & Co., Great Foods of America, and Annie’s, Inc.

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Those against it?

Monsanto, Bayer Crop science, Pepsico, Inc., Nestle USA, Coca-Cola North America, Conagra Foods, Syngenta Corporation, General Mills, Del Monte Foods, Kellogg Company, Hershey Company, The J.M. Smucker Company, Council for Biotechnology Information, Grocery Manufacturers Association, Hormel Foods, Bumble Bee Foods, Ocean Spray Cranberries, Sara Lee, Bimbo Bakeries, Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Pinnacle Foods, Dean Foods Company, Biotechnology Industry Organization, Campbell’s Soup, McCormick & Company, Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company, Rich Products Corporation, Cargill, Inc., Dole Packaged Foods, Knouse Foods Cooperative, and Mars Food North America.

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And if you cannot tell by the heavy hitters opposing this initiative, the “No on Prop 37” campaign has some serious funding behind it. The “No on Prop 37” campaign has a whopping $37.5 million backing it, while “Yes on Prop 37” has just over $4 million backing it. Monsanto, the GMO giant, donated $7 million alone to the “No on Prop 37” campaign. What “Yes on Prop 37” does have going for it is the loyal, and constantly growing, crowds of consumers who are demanding healthy food choices, truth in labeling, and, in this case, the right to choose whether or not to purchase and ingest GMO foods.

For those of you who do not know, California’s Proposition 37 will require that raw or processed foods made from plants or animals with genetically modified material be labeled as such. It will also prohibit these foods from labeling and advertising their goods as “natural,” a loophole that has surely upset all of the companies selling food products containing GMO. Because the word “natural” really has no legal meanings, companies have been able to get away with labeling their foods as such, misleading consumers into believing that they were eating safe and healthy foods. Sounds like a great law, right? So why are these giant food corporations against it?

Well we could look at the surface, which is all of the reasons that they *say* they are against the initiative. According the “No on Prop 37” people, their concern is that it has too many special interest exemptions and it green lights shakedown lawsuits. One quote from the campaign states, “It’s a deceptive, deeply flawed food labeling scheme that would add more government bureaucracy and taxpayer costs, create new frivolous lawsuits, and increase food costs by billions–without providing any health or safety benefits.”

In fact, “No on 37” directly said:

  • “Biotechnology, also called genetic engineering (GE), has been used for nearly two decades to grow varieties of corn, soybeans and other crops that resist diseases and insects and require fewer pesticides. Thousands of common foods are made with ingredients from biotech crops. Prop 37 bans these perfectly safe foods only in California unless they’re specially relabeled or remade with higher cost ingredients.”
  • Notice how they state how widely genetically modified items are used, while downplaying the fact that potential impacts on human health including transferring antibiotic resistant markers, allergens, cross-pollination causing unintended transfer of transgenes, loss of biodiversity of flora and fauna, and other potential health risks, such as cancer, are being studied as this is typed.

    [NOTE: We *highly* recommend reading the very revealing book, Seeds of Deception: Exposing Industry and Government Lies About the Safety of the Genetically Engineered Foods You’re Eating. You will be shocked and sickened at how the rest of the world has already banned the same GMO food that is being sold freely in the U.S., based on sound, and shocking, science.]

    The “Yes on 37” campaign happily provided, and delved right into (warning, this link is a PDF download), the dollars and cents of this new initiative. And over in Europe, where GMO labeling has been mandatory since 1997, former European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection of the European Parliament, David Byrne, said that, “it did not result in increased costs, despite the horrifying (double-digit) prediction of some interests.”

    And why are they continuing to confuse the issue by saying that there will be cost increases due to food companies having to switch to non-GM ingredients? The ballot says they just have to label GM foods, it isn’t outlawing them.

    But wait a minute? Could it be that the “No on 37” camp knows that if people see what they are actually eating, they may make healthier food choices and demand no-GM foods (by the way, by definition, if a food is labeled “organic” then it *must* be non-GMO)? Now THAT will certainly impact these mega food companies financially. Otherwise, it seems they are blowing a lot of steam over some simple labeling and aiming to keep consumers from knowing exactly what they are eating.

    Bottom line: Californians, and consumers everywhere, have a right to know what they are eating.

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