Proposition funding information has been published by the California Secretary of State today, revealing a new slew of companies putting their money into the fight to defeat Prop 37, the Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act.
More popularly known as the GMO Prop, the November ballot item seeks to require labels on most foods made of or with genetically modified ingredients. Early on, companies such as Amy's Kitchen (maker of vegetarian convenience foods) and Dr. Bronner's Magic All-One (organic soaps and other hygiene and beauty products) publicly lent their financial support to the cause. On Wednesday, the companies opposed to Prop 37 were made public.
Thus far, the organizations donating the most money against the labeling of GMO products are conglomerations of the nation's biggest GMO producers, namely Monsanto, Dow, and DuPont. The Grocery Manufacturers Association is also a leading opponent of the cause, in terms of money given and stated purpose: the president of GMA called defeating Prop 37 "the single highest priority for GMA this year."
We know these companies are huge and powerful and influence our lives in untold ways. But we're not intimately familiar with them the way we are with food companies. And sadly, the maker of some of America's favorite snacks are throwing money into the anti-37 pot. The companies include both Pepsi and Coca-Cola (professional rivals coming together for one cause, like The Avengers of Frankenfood), Nestle, Kellogg, Hormel, Bimbo, General Mills, and ConAgra, the company behind Gulden's, Jiffy Pop, Swiss Miss, and dozens more. Smucker's has given money as well, which very much contradicts their ad campaign about what simple, rural farm folk who just love fruit they are.
For those who do want more transparency and labeling when it comes to the food they eat, this news is disappointing, but perhaps not surprising. These food companies have their eyes firmly on the bottom line, and using GMO foods is a good way of keeping products cheap. Come November, it's up to the consumer to decide what's most important about the food they eat.