Moral Low Ground

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Monsanto Donates $4.2 Million to Defeat Prop 37, California’s GMO Labeling Initiative

Monsanto has donated more than $4.2 million to defeat Proposition 37, a California ballot initiative that would require labeling of genetically modified foods.

The Sacramento Bee reports that the St. Louis-based agribusiness giant donated the funds to No on 37, formally known as Californians Against the Costly Food Labeling Proposition (CACFLP). CACFLP is a coalition of organizations, many of them large corporations, opposed to the measure.

With its massive donation, Monsanto becomes the single largest contributor to the fight against Prop 37. Other corporations that have given more than a million dollars to defeat the popular initiative are: E.I. Dupont De Nemours & Co. ($1.27 million), Dow Agrosciences LLC ($1.18 million) and Pepsico ($1.12 million).

The “Big 6” pesticide corporations (Monsanto, Dow, BASF, Bayer, Syngenta and DuPont) have contributed a combined total of $13.5 million to defeat Prop 37.

The Bee published this list of the 20 largest contributors to No on 37:

“The giant pesticide and food companies are afraid of the mothers and grandmothers who want the right to know what’s in our food,” Stacy Malkan, media director of California Right to Know, told the Bee. 

“These companies will try to buy the election, but it won’t work. California moms and dads will prevail over Monsanto and Dupont,” she added.

Proposition 37 “requires labeling on raw or processed food offered for sale to consumers if made from plants or animals with genetic material changed in specified ways.” The initiative’s backers believe that consumers have a right to know what’s in the food they eat and feed their families. They point to the fact that more than 40 countries already require such labeling.

“More than 40 other countries — including all of Europe, Japan, China and, beginning next January, India — label genetically engineered food,” Cathy Calfo, executive director of California Certified Organic Farmers, told the California Right to Know Campaign. “The majority of people in the world have easy access to this information. Californians also deserve to be able to make informed choices about the food that they eat.”

The Democratic Party, as well as hundreds of organic farming, medical, scientific, environmental, food safety and other groups have endorsed Prop 37. According to an April Zogby poll, 87 percent of Americans believe that GMO foods should be labeled. A separate poll by San Francisco TV station KCBS found that 91 percent of Californians want to see genetically modified foods labeled.

Opponents of the measure argue that it is a “deceptive, deeply flawed food labeling scheme that would add more government bureaucracy and taxpayer costs, create new frivolous lawsuits, and increase food costs by billions–without providing any health or safety benefits.”There have been no long-term safety tests done on genetically modified foods, but there is compelling evidence that the unnatural mutations that occur in them may cause severe health and environmental problems. The American Academy of Environmental Medicine has warned the public to avoid GM foods, stating “There is more than a casual association between GM foods and adverse health effects. There is causation.”

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