Proposition 37, a citizen’s initiative on the California ballot this November, would mandate clear labeling of genetically engineered (GE or GMO) ingredients on all food packages. This has turned California into a battleground pitting consumer and farmer advocates against multi-billion-dollar agribusiness corporations.
And it may be the most important opportunity we will get to stop Monsanto and the insane and dangerous momentum of genetically engineered foods. Why? Recent polling indicates almost 70% of citizens support informational labeling of GMO ingredients in their foods. In fact, if Prop 37 passes, many companies would rather remove genetically engineered ingredients from their products than admit they use them. That’s just smart business. After all, most Americans say they would avoid GMOs if labeled.
And companies are simply not going to create a separate label and product just for California, so passage of Prop 37 will mean healthier, non-GMO food choices for the whole nation.
If labeling and consumer education about the health risks of GMOs encourages U.S. food companies to stop using GMO ingredients—like they already have in Europe and Japan—Monsanto, Bayer, etc. will be dealt a major blow.
“Up till now, the U.S. government has bullied other nations into accepting useless and dangerous GMOs. But rejection of GM foods by U.S. consumers and food companies could change all that. Without U.S. pressure, the world might finally be ready to admit that the technology has failed to live up to its promises, is fraught with dangerous side effects, and needs to be withdrawn. This vote could be the fast-track to a healthier food supply for everyone.”
No wonder big food and agriculture corporations are fighting Proposition 37 with every dollar they’ve got! They stand to lose money and credibility, forever. However, money earned unethically at the expense of our health and the health of the environment cannot be allowed to continue.
How to Help Stop Monsanto
There is no question the grassroots anti-GMO movement is grossly outspent compared to agribusinesses like Monsanto, so donations—even of $5 or $10—are crucial right now as the November 6 vote approaches. This is very much a David vs. Goliath scenario, and every penny, every action, counts!
You might be surprised to find out that many “natural” and “organic” brands are in fact owned by multi-billion-dollar corporations that are contributing hundreds of thousands—or even millions—of dollars to defeat Proposition 37. These companies present themselves as small, family-run businesses and farms in order to gain your trust, but nothing could be further from the truth.
For example, Kashi is owned by Kellogg, and has contributed $612,000 to defeating Proposition 37. In 2011, The Cornucopia Institute published a study called Cereal Crimes, which revealed that the popular, “natural” Kashi GoLean cereal brand, unbeknownst to its customers, contains genetically engineered ingredients.
Another example is Silk soymilk, which carries the “Non-GMO Project Verified” seal on its products but is owned by the nation’s largest factory dairy, Dean Foods, which has contributed $253,000 to the effort to kill Prop 37. Dean Foods also owns the Horizon Organic brand. Both Silk and Horizon profess to oppose GMOs, while their parent company does everything possible to water down organic certification standards and make sure genetically engineered foods (like rBGH milk) are never labeled.
I don’t think we should let such hypocrisy stand, and neither does the Cornucopia Institute. “Talk is cheap,” says Charlotte Vallaeys, Director of Farm and Food Policy at The Cornucopia Institute:
“Consumers should not only know whether there are GMOs in their food, but also whether their hard-earned dollars are supporting companies that then turn around and invest those profits in the effort to sell-out their right to know. …We have a problem with the duplicity of corporations that hide under a ‘holier-than-thou’ marketing brand and then undermine the very values of the organic movement.”
To make it easier for shoppers to identify and support organic brands whose corporate owners support Proposition 37, and boycott brands owned by companies that financially contributed to opposing the “Right to Know” campaign, The Cornucopia Institute has developed a shopping guide for consumers which you can see in the infographic below.
But merely boycotting these products is not enough. Shopping never is. To be truly powerful and effective, we need to let these companies know that associating themselves with Monsanto and GMOs will be devastating for business.
We need to publicly shame these companies into reevaluating their position on GMOs. We need to sign petitions, email and call these companies, and, in particular, publicly post on their Facebook walls, tweet and retweet about their efforts to undermine our right to choose safe, healthy food. You will find a list of companies fighting GMO labeling and their Facebook and Twitter links at the end of this article.
“Hiding the truth about our food is pervasive, unethical, and only done for money,” says Michael Potter, CEO of Eden Foods, an organic food manufacturer that financially contributed to support Proposition 37. “Let this [Prop. 37] be the beginning of an end to it.”
Together we can help pass Prop 37 this November!
Together we can turn the tide on Monsanto and GMOs forever.
“Armchair activism” like emailing, facebooking and tweeting in protest of GMOs is a great way to blow off steam and to channel your anger at the factory food system in a productive way. It’s something you can do even if you lead a busy life with no time to otherwise volunteer.
Please join the thousands of us who are tweeting and posting in support of Prop 37 and GMO labeling. Let these companies know what you think about their fight against Proposition 37 and our right to know what is in our food.
Let people know that brands like Kashi and Silk aren’t so green, wholesome and healthy after all.
If you Tweet, please use hashtags like #yeson37 #prop37 #nogmo #righttoknow #labelgmo and #gmo to get further reach.
Which one of these companies feels like the worst betrayal to you?
Which companies are you going to take the most joy out of protesting on Facebook or Twitter?