The Most Revolutionary Act

Diverse Ramblings of an American Refugee

Dr Stuart Jeanne Bramhall

Dr Stuart Jeanne Bramhall
Location
New Plymouth, New Zealand
Birthday
December 02
Bio
Retired psychiatrist, activist and author of 2 young adult novels - Battle for Tomorrow and A Rebel Comes of Age - and a free ebook 21st Century Revolution. My 2010 memoir The Most Revolutionary Act: Memoir of an American Refugee describes the circumstances that led me to leave the US in 2002. More information about my books (and me) at www.stuartjeannebramhall.com

SEPTEMBER 5, 2012 7:31PM

The Corporations Opposing Prop 37

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prop37

 

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

Pepsi-Co $1,716,300

  • Tostito’s Organic
  • Tropicana Organic
  • Naked Juice
Coca-Cola $1,164,400
  • Odwalla
  • Honest Tea
ConAgra $1,076,700
  • Orville Redenbacher’s Organic
  • Hunt’s Organic
  • Alexia Foods
  • Lightlife
Kellogg’s $632,500
  • Keebler Organic
  • Kellogg’s Organic
  • Bear Naked
  • Kashi
  • Morningstar Farms
  • Wholesome & Hearty
J.M Smucker $388,000
  • Santa Cruz Organics
  • Smucker’s Organic Peanut Butter
  • R.W. Knudsen
  • Natural Brew
  • Tenderleaf Tea
Hormel Foods $374,300
  • Natural Choice
General Mills $519,401
  • Small Planet Foods
  • Cascadian Farm
  • Muir Glen
  • Gold Medal Organic
  • Larabar
Bimbo Bakeries $338,300
  • Earth Grains
DelMonte $189,975
  • DelMonte brand organic pickles
  • DelMonte brand organic canned tomato products
  • Fruit Naturals
Hershey $395,100
  • Dagoba
Dean Foods $253,950
  • White Wave/Silk
  • Horizon
  • Organic Cow of Vermont
Campbell Soup Co. $70,455
  • V8 Organic
  • Prego Organic
  • Swanson’s Organic
  • Pace Organic
  • Campbell’s Organic
  • Bolthouse Farms
McCormick $248,200
  • McCormick Organic Spices

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A very revealing list. There are a lot of brands here that I have trusted as coming from reputable companies. I've always thought that the smaller companies that produce ridiculously expensive organics were exploiting a niche, but maybe it has more to do with using more expensive ingredients.
It will be interesting to see what will hapen after new labeling.
[r] Wow, what an important story!!!!

I just bought Kashi cereal last night. Did not even realize it was Kellogg's. Duh. Again, thanks for this important story, Stuart! Wow.

There was a story in NYC on the local news on how little difference there is between supposed organic labeled fruits and veggies and non-organic fruits and veggies in stores. The story seemed to laugh at people buying "organic" labeled fruits and veggies BUT minimized the toxicity of non-organic sold fruit and veggies. They may have been doing a service questioning the mislabeling of organic and natural but they weren't doing a service minimizing the toxicity in so many of our foods. Money for propaganda seems to be the modus operandi of the profiteering amoral corporate class, enabled by the crony pols. I hope this passes.

best, libby
It would be really nice to know if Dr. Frankenstein and Igor prepared my breakfast. That’s not gonna happen but Dr. If Monsanto spent 22 million on advertising they spent at least twice that lobbying, another words judicial and congressional bribes. But Proposition 39 is a nice thought.
Libby, I'm just happy that the American environmental movement is finally waking up to the issue of genetically engineered foods and the health problems they cause for many people. These foods have been banned in most of Europe and New Zealand for more than ten years.

From what I read, they are also waking up to the dangers of fluoride (which, like GMOs, Europe banned more than a decade ago).

You are absolutely right about Food Inc devoting a substantial portion of their advertising budget to disparaging true organic foods - claiming they are no more nutritious than corporately farmed foods.

Jack, I think it's safe to assume your breakfast is Frankenfood unless you grow it in your own backyard or buy it from a farmer (at a farmers market) or an organic food shop that can tell you exactly where it was grown.
The goal of the corporation is to increase shareholder value. The corporation knows that the decrease in gen mod'd food will not correspond to an equal increase in organic foods (because they are more expensive and will therefore not see a 1:1 switchover...just like people who claim to care about being "green" but won't pay the extra $.20 for a bottle of more environmently friendly cleaners).

They'll make money off of ya if you're a fat slob and they'll make money off of ya if you're a marathon runner. That's not hypocricy. That's reality. If people don't realize this already, they're living in a cave in the middle point of nowhere, or they are too stupid of naive for me to care about them.

I am glad that the FDA shot down the whole "corn sugar" thing, though. HFCS is killing this country one bottle of soda at a time.

Corn in general is bullshit, actually. Fucking Earl Butz...what an asshole...
You make some great points, Malcolm. In my view, the move people need to make is away from corporate brands altogether. Food you grow and process yourself or buy from a Farmers Market is a helluva lot cheaper and more nutritious than any corporate organic brand. And paying 20 cents more for a natural cleaning product makes absolutely no sense to me - not when you can make your own (in seconds in a food processor) out of vinegar, baking soda, washing soda (calcium carbonate - a water softener) and bar soap.
This is a good and important topic. I appreciate your column though admittedly do not agree with many of your views outside of this article. A few things occur to me regarding interpretation of motivations. Many of these organizations are already 'trusted'. i believe they fear, rightly so, losing that trust. Many say these corporations fear declining revenue. While i agree, i do not believe it will be as a direct result. Most consumers still make their decisions based upon price, packaging and emotion. i believe what is truly feared is consumer awareness. Most consumers do not understand the Corn and Soybean industries. The outrage that will possibly ensue following awareness would find itself all the way to the Supreme Court (I'm speaking of overturning patents on modified organisms). These corporations are now citing that this is a bad law, fraught with possibility for litigiousness. and they're right. it is a poorly written law. But they could have addressed that point much earlier by either supporting a better-written labeling law, or pushing for labeling legislation that would have rendered this law unnecessary. They chose to fight labeling, because their true concern is labeling itself, not the quality of this law. Truthfully, I'm not opposed to all GMO's myself (I respect fully that others are). I'm excited about creating food sources that can be more local via drought and seasonal tolerances. I am also interested in learning more about engineered endemic pest resistance. What I want nothing to do with, and I believe is fairly in-line with middle America, is a fake, subsidized industry surrounding Corn or soybean products saturated with round-up. And those are precisely the issues prop 37 is centrally addressing.
Aghadden, thanks for your extremely thoughtful comment. You make some excellent points.