There is a battle raging in California. On one side are Dr. Bronner’s soap, Organic Valley butter, Nature’s Path granola, and a bunch of other organic, all-natural companies. On the other side are Kashi GoLean cereal (and all other Kellogg’s products), Quaker Oats and Sabra hummus (and all other PepsiCo products), Muir Glen organic tomato sauce (and all other General Mills products), Monsanto, and DuPont, to name a few.
In other words, a group called Yes on Proposition 37 is trying to get a law passed that would “require food sold in retail outlets to be labeled if it is produced through genetic engineering.”* Lots of foods, like Kashi cereals, are marketed as “natural” when in reality, they are made with genetically modified crops like corn and soy. Yes on Prop 37 argues that companies are purposely misleading consumers, and should be open about whether or not GM crops are used. California will, if Yes on Prop 37 wins out, be the first state to pass such a law.
Their opposition, though, is powerful. Companies like Monsanto and Kellogg are backing an initiative called No on Proposition 37, which is trying to stop the law from passing. The No on Prop 37 website** states that “Proposition 37 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.”
Monsanto alone gave $4,208,000.00 to fund the No group and ads attacking the Yes group’s ideals. Just for funsies, I figured out a couple of other things that Monsanto could have done with that $4,208,000.00:
–given 210,400 people an organic apple tree
-given a granola bar to the entire population of DC with plenty to spare
-built and fed at least 20 homeless shelters in Baltimore City
Yes on Prop 37 and its supporters argue that if there’s nothing to hide, these companies should have no problem labeling their food. In order to comply with Prop 37, companies like Pepsi would have to put in hundreds of thousands of dollars to redesign labels, and have multiple new labels designed and printed, so that we can decide whether or not to eat GM corn, soy, beet sugar, etc.
Total, the No on Prop 37 group has raised almost 25 million dollars to prevent the law from passing. That is:
-25 times the amount of money that BP just gave to the Hurricane Isaac relief effort
-more than 1 year of Mitt Romney’s annual income as of 2010
-equivalent to the cost of providing 12,860 people with food stamps for a year
*Go here to read about the Yes on Proposition 37 group, and the amazing work that they’re doing.
**Go here to read about the No on Proposition 37 group, and the… er… the work that they’re doing.
That’s all for now. Feel free to comment and ask questions!