Major Food Companies Launch A New Trick in Washington’s GMO-Labeling Campaign

Written by Max Goldberg on October 14, 2013. Follow Max on Twitter: @livingmaxwell.

Yes on 522 logo-horiz2

The country’s most important GMO-labeling campaign is taking place right now in Washington State, and it is called I-522.

There are a few key things about this campaign that I wanted to discuss with you.

1) Among everyone that I speak to in the industry, the general consensus is that getting GMO-labeling approved in our country will be a bottoms-up, rather than a top-down, approach.

This means that we have to win on the state level rather than have it be mandated above from the federal government. Politicians in Washington D.C. are so under the influence of lobbyists and corporations that getting any serious traction on a national level has proven to be incredibly difficult.

(Watch what Andrew Kimbrell, the Executive Director of The Center for Food Safety, says about the importance of winning on the state level in order to get federal GMO-labeling approved.)

Needless to say, winning Washington’s GMO-labeling campaign is imperative, especially after last year’s loss in California with Proposition 37.

Monsanto and many of the major chemical companies have already raised close to $18 million to defeat this measure, and our side has raised a little over four million, with Dr. Bronner’s as the major contributor. (To see Cornucopia’s poster of who gave what on each side, click HERE.)

2) The major food companies who are against GMO-labeling have learned an important lesson from last year’s Proposition 37 and have employed a very sneaky maneuver to avoid the public backlash that their brands faced in 2012.

In Proposition 37, companies such as Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Kellogg’s, and many others donated directly to the campaign to defeat this GMO-labeling initiative. The donations were all made public and as a result, the companies faced serious anger on social media. Furthermore, their customers and many GMO-labeling activists called for a boycott of these brands.

(And don’t forget that many of these large companies own organic brands, and these organic brands were boycotted as well.)

Not wanting to repeat last year’s huge public relations debacle, NONE of the major food companies has made a direct contribution. NONE.

Instead, the funds have been funneled through the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), their major trade organization.

So, the GMA is now the major contributor in the fight against I-522, and consumers have no idea which companies have donated to defeat this measure in Washington State.

Not accepting this tactic as acceptable, an organization called Moms for Labeling filed a lawsuit against the GMA to force them to disclose the names of the donors. Unfortunately, a court ruled against them and also fined the group $10,000. Additionally, the GMA counter-sued.

Getting GMO-labeling in our country is essential, and I strongly encourage you to donate whatever you can afford. I have donated. Please consider helping as well.

To fight for our right to know what is in our food and to donate, please click HERE.

Also, as a reminder for when you go to the grocery store, the companies and brands below spent a total of $49 million to defeat GMO-labeling in California. They do not want us to know what is in our food and we can never let them forget this.

Taken from the California Secretary of State website, the corporations below made financial contributions to defeat Proposition 37.

PepsiCo - (Pepsi, Quaker Oats, Tropicana, Frito-Lay, Tostitos, Gatorade, Naked Juice)

Nestle - (Nestle, Gerber, Perrier, Poland Spring, Pellegrino, Nescafe, Nestea, Dreyer’s, Alpo, Purina, PowerBar, Jenny Craig)

Hershey Company - (Hershey’s Chocolate, Kit-Kat, Almond Joy, Twizzlers, Reese’s, Dagoba)

Dean Foods - (Horizon Organic, Silk, Land O’Lakes, Garelick Farms, Meadow Farms, Dean’s)

Mars - (Mars, M&Ms, Snickers, Milky Way, Uncle Ben’s, Doublemint, Skittles, Starburst, Seeds of Change, Alterra Coffee, Pedigree)

Coca-Cola North America - (Coke, Diet Coke, Minute Maid, Odwalla, Honest Tea, Dasani, Vitamin Water)

Rich Products Corporation - (SeaPak, Byron’s, FarmRich)

Ocean Spray Cranberries - (Ocean Spray juices and dried fruit)

Kellogg’s - (Kellogg’s products, Kashi, Bear Naked, Gardenburger, Morningstar Farm)

General Mills - (Cheerios, Wheaties, Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, Cascadian Farm, Muir Glen, Lara Bar, Liberte, Yoplait, Nature Valley)

Dole - (Dole, Dole Organic)

Pinnacle Foods Group - (Aunt Jemima, Duncan Hines, Hungry Man, Van de Kamps, Vlasic)

Del Monte - (Del Monte Products, Wolfgang Puck organic soups)

Campbell Soup - (Campbell’s, Swanson, V8, Prego)

Morton Salt

McCormick & Company

Inventure Foods - (Jamba Smoothies, Burger King Fries, T.G.I.Fridays Potato Skins – each one is a licensee)

Sunny Delight - (SunnyD)

Sara Lee - (Sara Lee, Hillshire Farms, Jimmy Dean, State Fair)

McCain Foods - (Anchor, Farmer’s Kitchen, Redstone Canyon)

Land O’ Lakes

J.M. Smucker Company - (Smucker’s products, Santa Cruz Organic, R.W. Knudsen)

Hormel Foods - (Hormel, Herdez, Spam, Valley Fresh)

Godiva Chocolate

Bumble Bee Foods - (Bumble Bee, King Oscar, Beach Cliff)

Bimbo Bakeries - (Arnold, Bimbo, Ball Park, Entenmann’s, Earthgrains)

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5 Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing this important update Max, We need to win on this fight.

    Written by Marla on October 15, 2013 @ 9:55 am
  2. Hi Max, Can these corporations afford to fight this in all 50 states. Perhaps multiple times? Currently they’re spending an average of $33M per state to fight it. Let’s say it costs them an average of $25M in every state, that’s $1.25 billion (that’s actual cash, not “Cash Value” or the metrics they use to figure profit/loss/). Do you believe they are willing to go that far?

    Written by Andy on October 15, 2013 @ 3:29 pm
  3. […] Major Food Companies Launch A New Trick in Washington’s GMO-Labeling Campaign Living Maxwell by Max Goldberg […]

    Pingback by Updates: news releases and updates on October 16, 2013 @ 12:07 pm
  4. Great information, I am hopeful that Washington will pass 522! However I am still shocked that it didn’t pass in California. After 37, I talked to a lot of people in California and they still had no idea what the law would actually do and had been fooled by all of the advertisements saying it would raise the cost of food:(

    I have donated as well and will continue to inform friends and family, as Washington is my home town…really hoping they vote yes!!!!

    Thanks for this post!

    Written by sarah on October 21, 2013 @ 2:22 pm
  5. […] other day I wrote about the trick that major food companies were employing in Washington State’s GMO-labeling campaign. They funneled their money through the Grocery […]

    Pingback by Organic Link Love - The Week's Top Organic Food Stories on October 28, 2013 @ 12:33 pm

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