According to a press release from RighttoKnow.org, campaign finance reports show that pesticide and processed foods companies contributed almost $10 million to oppose Proposition 37. That ballot measure would require labeling of genetically engineered (GE) or genetically modified (GMO) foods. Stacy Malkan, Media Director for California Right to Know said in a statement, “They will not prevail. This is America. We have the right to know what’s in the food we eat and feed our children.”
For instance, Dupont Pioneer has contributed $2.4 million. Bayer CropScience has contributed $1 million, and BASF Plant Science gave almost $1 million to defeat Prop 37. Other large contributors include PepsiCo Inc., Nestle USA, Inc., General Mills, Inc., Conagara Foods, Syngenta Corporation, Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc., Hormel Foods, Kellogg Company and Campbell Soup Company. The president of the Grocery Manufacturers Association recently said that defeating Prop 37 is the highest priority for that group this election year.
Dr. Marcia Ishii-Eiteman, from Pesticide Action Network, said that “rather than reducing the need for hazardous pesticides, herbicide-resistant seeds have driven a massive increase in herbicide use that has been linked to significant environmental and public health concerns.” A 2009 report showed that farmers used 318 million more pounds of pesticides in the first 13 years of commercial GE crop production, from 1996 to 2008.
Most other countries in the world, including the European Union, Japan, Australia, and China, already requires the labeling of GMO foods. Prop 37 will appear on this November’s California ballot. It would require food processors to label about 80% of all non-organic processed food sold in grocery stores. Food processors would most likely change labels nationwide, since it would cost more to have a separate set of labels for products sold in California.