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Monsanto spends millions to fight labeling of genetically modified food

Published time: August 16, 2012 17:07
Edited time: August 16, 2012 21:07
An anti-GMO activist holds a bag containing "MON 810", a variety of genetically modified maize (corn) developed by Monsanto, coated with an insectiside named Poncho (AFP Photo/Eric Cabanis)

An anti-GMO activist holds a bag containing "MON 810", a variety of genetically modified maize (corn) developed by Monsanto, coated with an insectiside named Poncho (AFP Photo/Eric Cabanis)

Activists in California are fighting to pass Proposition 37, a law that would legally require genetically modified foods to be labeled as such. Biotech giant Monsanto doesn’t like that idea, though, and has donated over $4.2 million to oppose it.

If the majority of voters in California can come together to support Proposition 37 on Election Day, companies such as Monsanto will be forced to advertise products created through genetic engineering and modification as being exactly that. And although the initiative is being touted by activists who demand a right to know what is being sold in supermarkets and grocery stores across the state, Monsanto and other GMO corporations are condemning the legislation.

No on 37, a “coalition against the deceptive food labeling scheme, sponsored by farmers and food producers,” has been put together to push back the proposition. According to campaign records publically available on the California State Department’s website, Monsanto has handed over $4,208,000 so far to support the movement aimed against Prop 37.

Dow Agrosciences, a multi-billion-dollar chemical company with strong GMO ties, has also contributed almost $1.2 million; Dupont has offered $1,273,600.

Taking into account the contributors from by Dupont, Dow and Monsanto made only this week, those three entities alone have donated $6.8 million in just a few days towards fighting the mandated labeling. The parent companies of Nestle, Pepsi, Hershey and Kellogg have also made handed over substantial amounts of money, as have Coca Cola, Sara Lee, Rich Products , Dole and Del Monte — and some have even made repeated donations.

"Everyone is impacted because everyone buys groceries, and one of the impacts is going to be higher grocery bills," No on 37 spokesperson Kathy Fairbanks tells the Associated Press. "Prop. 37 leaves consumers with the incorrect impression that there is something wrong with GE crops, when that is not true."

In a classic case of David against Goliath, though, the supporters of Prop 37 say that they will persevere in the end, even if they are going against millions of dollars in unmatched contributions.

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

So far No on 37 has raised almost $25 million, more than 10 times what supporters of the proposition have produced, the AP reports. The bill will be up for vote on Election Day this November.