With the election drawing near, the GMO labeling battle in Washington state is heating up. Just this week when I wrote about General Mills and their failure to offer GMO-free Cheerios in the US, I tried to discover if the company had donated to the cause to defeat I-522. All I could find was donations were made in the millions by the Grocery Manufacturer’s Association (GMA). Just who is this group?
Thanks to a money laundering lawsuit filed by Washington state, we now know who and how much has been contributed by the GMA.
Top Grocery Manufacturers Associations contributors to defeat GMO labeling I-522:
Pepsico $1.6 million
Coca-Cola $1.047 million
NestleUSA $1.052 million
The Hershey Company $248,305
General Mills $598,819
Kellogg Co. $221,852
Bimbo Bakeries (Orowheat, Sara Lee, Ball Park buns) $94,093
Land O’ Lakes $99,803
Monsanto $4 million
Cargill & Co. $98,601
Conagra (Hunt’s Tomatoes, Banquet foods, David seeds) $285, 281
Del Monte $86,576
Campbell Soup $265,140
Hormel Foods $52,908
Ocean Spray Cranberries $55,313
Learning a lesson in California, the companies tried to avoid the negative backlash of boycotts and protest as a result of such donations in Washington state to defeat the GMO-labeling initiative. In order to hide their identity, they created the “Defense of Brands Strategic Account” within the GMA.
A total of $17.1 million has been contributed to defeat I-522.
Seattle PI reports:
In yielding to a lawsuit brought by Attorney General Bob Ferguson, GMA agreed to list donors to what has become a $17.1 million campaign to defeat I-522…
The food industrial giants gave individually in California last year, contributing to a $46 million war chest that narrowly turned back the labeling measure.
In planning the anti-522 campaign, however, Grocery Manufacturers Association CEO Pamela Bailed recommended creation of a fund — which became the Defense of Brand Strategic Account — in part to “better shield individual companies from attack.” Donations would be laundered through the account…
AG Ferguson filed a complaint Wednesday, charging that the Grocery Manufacturers Association fund violated the state’s Public Disclosure Act, a citizen-sponsored measure enacted 40 years ago to let the public know who gives and how much to campaigns.
Via: The Organic Consumers Association
I am so grateful that Washington’s Attorney General Bob Ferguson made these companies come out of hiding and reveal how much money they’ve given to try to prevent consumers from knowing what’s in the food they’re eating and feeding their children. Just like in California, where they gave millions of dollars to defeat Proposition 37, they’re trying to defeat this measure in Washington that would require labeling of genetically engineered foods and food ingredients. People have a right to know what they’re getting so they can make informed choices.
I’m basically responding to this story because of the ad above with the woman trying to figure out what to buy while the message says ” 522 would falsely mislead consumers into thinking that common food and beverage products are somehow different, unsafe or unhealthy … in clear contradiction of scientific facts.” The “scientific” facts are that genetically engineered foods have never been tested for safety in humans (the Monsanto web site says that human testing isn’t practical or necessary) and animal testing has never been done for long enough periods to show any possible effects … it’s called slanting the results. The facts are that 64 countries around the world require labeling of genetically engineered foods … like Australia, China, Denmark, Ecuador, Spain, Switzerland … you can find these online. The fact is that on October 10, just over a week ago, Mexico suspended the planting of genetically modified corn in that country. The fact is that agribusiness and junk food companies spent around $46 million in California last year and were trying to do the same in Washington before the November election … and were trying to hide behind the GMA (the Grocery Manufarcturers’ Association) front so the public wouldn’t know who was providing the money to oppose people’s right to know what they’re getting in their food. And the FDA’s declaration that GMOs are just like regular food wasn’t based on science, it was a politically motivated decision.
Thanks for posting this story!
Jennifer Lance says
The ad came from the No on 522 site.
they’re not going to win our votes by confusing us this time. The entire community is engaged, thousands are standing up for GMO labeling. Join the call and make this election the beginning of the end for Monsanto!