Monsanto Leads the Charge against GMO Labeling

Friday, August 17, 2012

The biggest pesticide and biotechnology companies in the world, led by Monsanto, have already spent $25 million to defeat California’s groundbreaking Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) labeling initiative on November’s ballot. Most of the money has been contributed in the past month.

Proposition 37, one of 11 initiatives on the ballot, would require labels on most processed food by 2014 identifying any ingredients from agricultural products with genetically altered DNA. Food and alcohol in restaurants would be exempt, as would food from animals that have been eating the modified ingredients.

No other state has such a law, but because Californians consume about 12% of all food in the country, passage of the law could have a profound affect nationally. About 20 other states are considering similar legislation and polls show that 93% of Americans favor GMO labeling. But the Senate, heavily influenced by lobbyists, trounced (73-26) a GMO amendment to the sprawling congressional farm bill last month.    

In the United States, 95% of sugar beets are genetically engineered, as are 94% of soybeans and 88% of feed corn. The European Union and Japan already require that GMOs be labeled.

Supporters of the initiative say that transparency would engender trust in the food system among consumers and provide information for future discussion of technology that is still in its early stages. Critics of the labeling law say consumers are being unnecessarily alarmed about technology that has not proved harmful, the law would be costly to implement and it could generate expensive, time-consuming lawsuits.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has said GMOs pose no greater health risks than traditional foods.

According to the California Secretary of State, the top Prop. 37 contributors so far are:

Monsanto—$4.2 million

E.I. Dupont De Nemours & Co.—$4.0 million

Pepsico, Inc—$1.7 million

BASF Plant Science—$1.6 million

Bayer Cropscience—$1.6 million

Dow Agrosciences LLC—$1.2 million

Nestle USA, Inc—$1.2 million

Coca Cola North America—$1.2 million

Conagra Food—$1.1 million

–Ken Broder


To Learn More:

Monsanto Gives $4.2 Million to Kill California GMO Labeling Initiative (PR Newswire)

Agriculture Giants and Biotech Companies Spend Big to Defeat Prop. 37 (by Garance Burke, Associated Press)

List of Prop. 37 Contributors (California Secretary of State)

Will Monsanto Win the Genetic Food Fight in California as It Did in Congress? (by Ken Broder, AllGov)

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