Proposition 37 is the ballot initiative in California that will force mandatory labels on all foods produced with genetically modified or engineered organisms. Those foods, called GE or GMO foods, have had their DNA modified in some way to add a characteristic to the food.
Most Americans, according to many surveys, support labeling GMOs in food. The organization California Right to Know is behind the effort that successfully added Prop 37 to the ballot this fall. It’s interesting to see who supports this initiative and who opposes it.
According to a press release sent out by California Right to Know, the largest contributors to the anti-Prop 37 movement have donated $2 million so far. Donors include biotech industry conglomerates such as DuPont ($310,100) and organizations such as the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), which has contributed $375,000 to date. In fact, the president of GMA said that “defeating Prop 37 is the single-highest priority for GMA this year.” Other large donors who want to defeat the measure include Pepsico ($90,220), Nestle ($61,471), Coca Cola ($61,208), and ConAgra Foods ($56,598).
Stacy Malkan, spokesperson for the Yes on 37 Right to Know Campaign, said, “why are these giant food companies spending so much money to high the truth about what’s in our food? These same companies are already informing foreign consumers about genetically engineered food in 49 other countries, including all of Europe, Japan, China, and Russia.”
The Yes on 37 Campaign received $990,000 in contributions last quarter. Donors include the Organic Consumers Fund ($400,000), Nutiva ($50,000), and other businesses such as Lundberg Family Farms, Amy’s itchen, and Dr. Mercola. The California Democratic Party voted to endorse Prop 37, along with the California Labor Federation, and Senator Barbara Boxer.
Opponents of the measure say that mandatory labeling will raise the price of food and encourage lawsuits. Genetically modified foods have been on store shelves since 1994, and the FDA says the foods are safe. In fact, pigs are being engineered to increase levels of omega-3 fatty acids, and other livestock are engineered to provide leaner meat.