The 2014 midterm election is nearly one week away at the time I pen this blog. At stake is our right to know if we are ingesting GMO ingredients and feeding them to our children. This battle is currently being fought in two states; Colorado and Oregon. Big corporate money is doing its best to deny what over 90% of consumers want, to have foods containing GMO ingredients labeled. Over 60 countries around the globe have GMO labeling laws. Why is it that here in the U.S., big food and chemical corporations are spending millions just so we don’t join the rest of the world in this knowledge? This missive is a call to action to all of you who care about the issue.
Who are these companies funding the anti-labeling side?
There are basically ten corporations funding the opposition; Monsanto, DuPont, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, Kraft, General Mills, Hershey, J.M. Smucker, Dow and Kellogg. The first two are chemical companies that bring us herbicides, pesticides, and patent our seeds. The rest are giant food corporations heavily vested in selling products containing GMOs. These ten companies are responsible for pouring in more than $30 million to defeat the Colorado and Oregon GMO labeling bills. Their goal is to protect their profits over people.
How much is too much?
To date, the anti-labeling coalitions have poured more than $30 million into both states; $14 million into Colorado and $16 million into Oregon! Their goal is to keep all American consumers and families in the dark about GMOs through a big-budget campaign of lies and deception. In Oregon, Measure 92 has set a spending record, making it the most expensive ballot measure in state history! Why fight so hard if the technology is so virtuous? What have they got to hide?
How to buy an election?
As the money pours in, voters in both states are being bombarded with an unprecedented blitz of Big Chemical sponsored anti-labeling propaganda. The messages are insidious, misleading, and downright false! “Grocery bills will skyrocket!” Consumers Union released a study showing that requiring food labels for genetically engineered food will cost consumers less than a penny a day. “GMO labeling is bad for the farmers!” Thousands of farmers endorse and support the measures in both states. They include language protecting farmers in case there is a problem. “GMOs are proven safe, why label them?” The long-term health effects of eating GMO food has never been studied, so we really don’t know if they are safe. What we do know is that the same pesticide companies also made DDT and Agent Orange, and at the time claimed they were safe. Most GMO crops are designed to withstand heavy applications of pesticides known to cause serious health risks to infants and children. Then we hear “Labeling GMOs will weaken organic!” Consumers purchase organic food for a multitude of reasons, only one of which is to avoid GMOs. Labeling GMO foods will heighten the awareness of food production making organic a more beneficial choice for health and for the environment!
We must act now to get state labeling passed as a pathway to national labeling!
Despite being grossly outspent, both measures are still narrowly ahead in the polls. This is the decisive moment and now is the time for everyone to get involved if we want to cross the finish line once and for all. Please donate to Yes on 92 Oregon Right to Know and to Yes on 105 Colorado Right to Know—every small donation makes a difference. Both measures desperately need funds to counter the onslaught of misinformation being aired on television and radio. You can also volunteer, make phone calls and tell your friends on social media. If we all do something our actions will speak louder than the massive funds being spent on deceptive advertising.
If you live in Colorado or Oregon you are on the front lines of a battle that will one day be seen as groundbreaking. Please make sure to vote! You can also be part of this revolution if you live in any one of the other 48 states. Give money, make phone calls and spread the word. The future of food transparency is in our hands today.