Read

User menu

Search form

Monsanto, Dupont, Big Foods Spend $25 Million to Defeat GMO Labeling In Oregon and Colorado

Monsanto, Dupont, Big Foods Spend $25 Million to Defeat GMO Labeling In Oregon and Colorado
Mon, 10/27/2014 - by Suzanne Goldenberg
This article originally appeared on The Guardian

Biotech and supermarket giants are spending more than $25 million to defeat ballot initiatives in two western states that would require labeling of foods containing genetically modified organisms.

In Colorado, Dupont and Monsanto food companies are outspending supporters of mandatory labeling by 22-1 ahead of the Nov. 4 vote, according to state campaign finance records.

In Oregon, meanwhile, industry is outspending supporters of the ballot measure by about 2-1.

The heavy industry spending resembles the last-minute infusions of cash for television ads, direct mail, and campaign staff that helped defeat earlier campaigns for mandatory GM labeling in California and Washington state.

“It is like David vs Goliath,” Larry Cooper, director of Colorado’s Right to Know campaign said.

He said the pro-labeling campaign had raised $625,000 by Thursday afternoon. Cooper’s opponents, meanwhile, amassed $14 million after Dupont this week gave an additional $3 million to the campaign, and were advertising heavily on local television.

“Why they put $14 million in Colorado to keep us in the dark really doesn’t make sense to me,” Cooper said. “The bottom line is that we really don’t know what is in our food. We are shopping blindly.”

Monsanto alone has spent $4.7 million to defeat the measure. Other top donors to the campaign to defeat pro-labeling Proposition 105 read like a grocery shopping list. They include: Pepsico, Kraft Foods, General Mills, Hershey Company, Coca-Cola and Kellogg, and Flower Food, according to Colorado state campaign finance records.

The spending is much less lopsided in Oregon where opponents of the state’s Measure 92 labeling initiative have raised $11m while supporters have $6 million.

Monsanto is a major force in both states. “We oppose state-by-state mandatory labeling laws like Measure 92 in Oregon and Proposition 105 in Colorado,” a company spokeswoman said in an email.

“The reason we don’t support them is simple. They don’t provide any safety or nutrition information and these measures will hurt, not help, consumers, taxpayers and businesses.”

Unlike Colorado, labeling advocates in Oregon have attracted some big donors to their side, including $1 million from Dr. Bronners’ magic soaps.

An heir to the Hormel meat-packing fortune, Thomas Hormel, who has no connection to the company and lives in Florida, gave $500,000, according to state campaign finance records.

The company immediately ramped up its own donations, giving a total of $85,000 to defeat the labeling initiative.

Kevin Glenn, a spokesman for Oregon Right to Know, said the pro-labeling side hoped to counter the financial advantage by grassroots organizing. He said the campaign had opened five field offices in the state, and was about to start canvassing door-to-door.

Organizers also had a bit of a head start. In May, voters in two rural counties voted to ban cultivation of GM crops, on the grounds that it put conventional produce at risk of contamination.

Last year, a number of countries postponed wheat imports from Oregon after an outbreak of GM wheat from an experimental research station. Investigators have yet to discover the source of the GM outbreak, which occurred years after the tests were shut down.

Scientists generally agree that foods containing GM ingredients are safe to eat, but the “right to know” has emerged as a hugely emotional issue for some Americans.

Pro-labeling campaigners say the public has a right to know exactly what they are eating. Opponents say labels make no sense if there are no real health concerns, and risks stigmatizing their products.

Vermont earlier this year became the first US state to adopt mandatory labeling of GM foods – although the law does not go into effect until 2016.

Maine and Connecticut have also passed GM labeling laws, but put them on hold.

Originally published by The Guardian

Sign Up

Article Tabs

Norway Sovereign Wealth Fund, Norwegian divestment, oil divestment, fossil fuel divestments, carbon emissions, Green New Deal, petro-states

Europe's largest oil producer is effectively admitting the oil game is over and promises to divest from the industry – but it wants to play to the final whistle. Can it have it both ways?

Amazon, Amazon Web Services, Amazon cloud storage, Amazon government relationship, Amazon surveillance technology, Amazon financial dominance

Amazon provides is unmatched providing cloud storage to our federal government, gubernatorial organizations and local municipalities, with over 2,000 agencies now dependant on AWS.

Brexit, Brexit failure, leaving the E.U., British turmoil, Brexit no-deal

The rejection of a no-deal left the government crestfallen as its attempt to keep control of the Brexit process by maintaining a no-deal on the table was quashed.

youth climate strike, climate protests, climate walkouts, strike for climate, Greta Thunberg, global youth protests

The global Youth Climate Strike will have its official coming out party this Friday, March 15, when tens of thousands of young people worldwide skip school to protest climate inaction.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Green New Deal, clean energy investments, renewables investments, JP Morgan Chase, Jamie Dimon, carbon emissions

JP Morgan invested $195.66 billion in oil and gas companies between 2016 and 2018, making the Wall Street bank "the world's top funder of fossil fuels by a wide margin."

Norway Sovereign Wealth Fund, Norwegian divestment, oil divestment, fossil fuel divestments, carbon emissions, Green New Deal, petro-states

Europe's largest oil producer is effectively admitting the oil game is over and promises to divest from the industry – but it wants to play to the final whistle. Can it have it both ways?

Environmental activists occupy the office of then incoming Democratic majority leader Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md. (J. Scott Applewhite / AP)

Amid transatlantic proposals for a Green New Deal, monetary policy – normally relegated to obscure academic tomes and bureaucratic meetings behind closed doors – has suddenly taken center stage.

Image Credit: Sara Jane Rhee

Teachers are now understanding that their labor power is part of a broader strategy to even the playing field in a political landscape that is increasingly unequal.

Norway Sovereign Wealth Fund, Norwegian divestment, oil divestment, fossil fuel divestments, carbon emissions, Green New Deal, petro-states

Europe's largest oil producer is effectively admitting the oil game is over and promises to divest from the industry – but it wants to play to the final whistle. Can it have it both ways?

Posted 3 days 13 hours ago
Amazon, Amazon Web Services, Amazon cloud storage, Amazon government relationship, Amazon surveillance technology, Amazon financial dominance

Amazon provides is unmatched providing cloud storage to our federal government, gubernatorial organizations and local municipalities, with over 2,000 agencies now dependant on AWS.

Posted 5 days 2 hours ago
Brexit, Brexit failure, leaving the E.U., British turmoil, Brexit no-deal

The rejection of a no-deal left the government crestfallen as its attempt to keep control of the Brexit process by maintaining a no-deal on the table was quashed.

Posted 6 days 3 hours ago
Image Credit: Sara Jane Rhee

Teachers are now understanding that their labor power is part of a broader strategy to even the playing field in a political landscape that is increasingly unequal.

Posted 4 days 13 hours ago
Amazon, Amazon Web Services, Amazon cloud storage, Amazon government relationship, Amazon surveillance technology, Amazon financial dominance

Amazon provides is unmatched providing cloud storage to our federal government, gubernatorial organizations and local municipalities, with over 2,000 agencies now dependant on AWS.

Image Credit: Sara Jane Rhee

Teachers are now understanding that their labor power is part of a broader strategy to even the playing field in a political landscape that is increasingly unequal.

Environmental activists occupy the office of then incoming Democratic majority leader Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md. (J. Scott Applewhite / AP)

Amid transatlantic proposals for a Green New Deal, monetary policy – normally relegated to obscure academic tomes and bureaucratic meetings behind closed doors – has suddenly taken center stage.

A conversation with Tailspin author Steven Brill, who has been writing about class warfare in the U.S. since 2011. The picture he paints is as depressing as it is persuasive.

Bouteflika protests, Algeria protests, second Arab Spring, Algeria youth, Algeria elections

Hundreds of thousands gathered at capital Algiers' landmark Grand Poste square demanding the president step down.