Organic Food Companies Join Monsanto, Dupont to Fight GMO Labeling

Monday, September 17, 2012

When a proposition was put on the November California ballot requiring the labeling of genetically modified food, everyone knew that the big bioengineering companies and agribusiness giants would contribute heavily toward defeating the measure.

And they have. But, to the consternation of some Prop. 37 opponents, Monsanto, Dupont and the like have been joined in the fight by the parent companies of some of the most popular organic food producers in the country. That shouldn’t be all that surprising when one considers that most every mega-food producer has branched out into the organic market, either buying existing companies or starting their own.

Monsanto still leads the list of contributors to the No on 37 campaign, at $4.21 million, followed by Dupont at $4 million. But Pepsico, which owns Naked Juice, is the third-largest contributor to the campaign at $1.72 million. Coca Cola, which owns Honest Tea, Odwalla and Simply Orange, are eighth on the contributors list at $1.16 million. ConAgra, parent of Alexia and Lightlife, are ninth at $1.08 million.

General Mills, which owns Cascadian Farms, is good for $908,200. Kellogg Company, which owns Kashi, has contributed $632,500 to defeat Prop. 37. J.M. Smucker Company, which has a number of organic companies in its family, contributed $388,000. Dean Foods, the parent company of Horizon Organic, has chipped in $253,950.

Dean Foods and Smucker are both on the board of the Organic Trade Association, which is on the record as supporting labeling of food containing genetically-modified organisms (GMOs). GMOs are already banned from organic food.

Opponents of Prop. 37 have raised nearly $28 million to date and many political observers expect that number to double before the November 6 election. Supporters of the measure have raised less than $4 million in much smaller increments. Only five contributors have given more than $100,000, and the vast majority of contributions have been for under $1,000.

The Cornucopia Institute has a website that tracks which side companies are on in the Prop. 37 battle.

–Ken Broder


To Learn More:

Uneasy Allies in the Grocery Aisle (by Stephanie Strom, New York Times)

Who's Funding Prop 37, Labeling for Genetically Engineered Foods? (KCET)

Which “Natural” Food Companies Are Fighting the Effort to Label GMOs? (by John Robbins, Huffington Post)

Monsanto Leads the Charge against GMO Labeling (by Ken Broder, AllGov)

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


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