On November 6th, California voters will have the opportunity to pass into law a “right-to-know” initiative that would make it mandatory for all genetically modified (GMO) foods to be so labeled. Proposition 37 would also ban the fraudulent, but highly lucrative practice, of many food manufacturers of labeling foods tainted with GMO ingredients as “natural.”
Recent polls show Proposition 37 leading by a 3 to 1 ratio. This is despite $22 million Monsanto and major food manufacturers have spent on publicity opposing the citizen’s initiative. The Organic Consumers Cooperative is calling for a boycott against all the food companies (see below) that oppose consumers’ right to know what is in their food. In contrast, the “Yes on 37” campaign has only raised $3 million.
Despite mounting scientific evidence linking GMO foods with cancer, birth defects and serious food allergies, nearly 80% of non-organic processed foods, including so-called “natural” foods, contain genetically engineered bacteria, viruses, antibiotic-resistant genes, and foreign DNA. Yet none of these foods are labeled.
Mislabeling GMO Foods as Natural
Health-minded and environmentally conscious consumers buy more products marketed or labeled as “natural” ($50 billion a year) than they do “organic foods” ($32 billion), in large part because they don’t understand the major difference between “organic” and “natural” foods. Two-thirds of the foods sold in Whole Foods Market or Trader Joe’s aren’t “organic,” but rather “natural.” Polls indicate that consumers are confused about the qualitative difference between organic and natural products, with a near majority believing that “natural” means “GMO-free” and “almost organic.” As a result 70% of Americans are totally unaware that they’re regularly consuming GMO-containing processed foods.
Prop 37 organizers call for an end to the massive fraud of mislabeled, so-called “natural” foods. They believe mandatory labeling laws in California, the eight largest economy in the world, would result in GMO labeling across the US and Canada. Food manufacturers are highly unlikely to use separate packaging in other jurisdictions. In fact many companies are expected to follow the example of food processors in Europe, where GMO labeling has been mandatory for ten years, and where consumers consistently choose non-GMO or organic foods. Many European manufacturers simply removed GMO ingredients from their foods, rather than risk tarnishing their brand image with a GMO label on their packaging.
How California Law Affects the Other States and Canada
From the massive amounts they are spending to defeat Prop 37, Monsanto and Food Inc would appear to share this view – that mandatory GMO labeling will greatly decrease consumption of GMO foods.
Monsanto, which holds the patent on most GMO crops, has donated $4 million to the “No on 37” campaign.
Ironically all the major food manufacturers trying to defeat Prop 37 have organic/natural food lines, as health-conscious consumers place a high premium on “organic” and “natural” foods. This is why the Organic Consumers Cooperative is so keen to expose their hypocrisy in trying to defeat an initiative that would force them to disclose the GMO ingredients in their processed foods. They urge health-minded consumers to boycott all the brands listed below, as well as commenting on their Facebook pages about their rank hypocrisy.
In the past few weeks Kashi/Kellogg and Muir Glen/General Mills have been deluged with complaints on their Facebook pages. Most of these companies also have consumer lines. People who aren’t on Facebook need to call them to complain.
COMPANY DONATION ORGANIC/NATURAL BRANDS
- Tostito’s Organic
- Tropicana Organic
- Naked Juice
- Honest Tea
- Orville Redenbacher’s Organic
- Hunt’s Organic
- Alexia Foods
- Keebler Organic
- Kellogg’s Organic
- Bear Naked
- Morningstar Farms
- Wholesome & Hearty
- Santa Cruz Organics
- Smucker’s Organic Peanut Butter
- R.W. Knudsen
- Natural Brew
- Tenderleaf Tea
- Natural Choice
- Small Planet Foods
- Cascadian Farm
- Muir Glen
- Gold Medal Organic
- Earth Grains
- DelMonte brand organic pickles
- DelMonte brand organic canned tomato products
- Fruit Naturals
- White Wave/Silk
- Organic Cow of Vermont
- V8 Organic
- Prego Organic
- Swanson’s Organic
- Pace Organic
- Campbell’s Organic
- Bolthouse Farms
- McCormick Organic Spices