GMO labeling is a hot issue these days, especially in California, and did you know that the food industry giants like Monsanto, DuPont, Bayer Crop Science, Dow Agrosciences, BASF, Pepsico, Coca Cola, Kellogg’s, and General Mills are just a few of the corporations that contributed over $25 million dollars to fund ads against the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act (also known as Prop 37) on the November ballot in California.
This data is taken from an article Why the Food Industry Is Spending $25 Million To Keep You in the Dark
Not surprisingly, the biggest donors represent packaged-food manufacturers and the companies that manufacture GM seeds:
• Monsanto: $4,208,000
Monsanto is the world’s largest seed company, responsible for hazardous pesticides such as DDT and Agent Orange. The company is now lobbying for approval for a new variety of corn that resists 2,4-D, one of two defoliants that comprised Agent Orange.
• DuPont: $4,025,200
DuPont rakes in about $19 million every year from sales related to its genetically modified seeds, pesticides, and food-processing chemicals.
• Bayer CropScience: $1,618,400
• Dow Agrosciences: $1,184,800
• BASF: $1,642,300
The world’s largest chemical company, BASF recently abandoned its attempts at marketing GMO crops in Europe, where consumer rejection of GMOs has kept them largely out of the food system, and relocated its plant-science division from Germany to Raleigh, North Carolina. There, the company is working with Monsanto to develop a drought-resistant corn and a strain of genetically modified wheat.
• Syngenta: $821,300
• Council for Biotechnology Information: $375,000; Biotechnology Industry Organization: $250,000
Both of these are trade groups that represent DuPont, Monsanto, Dow, and other companies that manufacture pesticides and the genetically modified seeds designed to withstand them.
• Grocery Manufacturers Association: $375,000
This is a trade group representing packaged-food manufacturers. In a recent speech to the American Soybean Association, the group’s president stated that defeating this ballot initiative was “the single highest priority for GMA this year.” This same group actively lobbied to defeat an amendment in the Food Safety and Modernization Act of 2011 that would have banned the hormone-disrupting chemical bisphenol A from canned foods.
Now for the food companies (ironically, many of these same companies have purchased organic brands in the past few decades, so in essence they’re supporting organic food and keeping customers in the dark about their conventional products):
• Pepsico: $1,716,300
• Nestlé: $1,169,400
Owns Tribe Mediterranean Foods, which has a line of certified-organic hummus
• Coca Cola: $1,164,400
Owns Odwalla, which manufacturers a line of certified-organic smoothies and juices
• ConAgra Foods: $1,076,700
• Kellogg’s: $632,500
Owns Morningstar Farms veggie burgers and Kashi, its cereal and granola brand that recently caught flack from customers for using GMO ingredients in products advertised as “natural”; Kashi does make some certified-organic cereals and Kellogg’s is even working to certify all Kashi products under the Non-GMO Project Verified label—even as it tries to defeat GM labeling.
• General Mills: $519,401.17
Owns the Cascadian Farms and Muir Glen organic brands
• Hershey: $395,100
• J.M. Smucker: $388,000
Sells two types of certified-organic peanut butter
• Hormel Foods: $374,300
• Ocean Spray: $301,553.21
• Dean Foods: $253,950
Even though it didn’t spend as much as other companies to defeat the bill, Dean Foods owns the nation’s two largest certified-organic dairy operations, Horizon Organic and Alta Dena.
• Cargill: $202,229.36
A number of other big food companies have made smaller donations, including Del Monte, Sara Lee, Sunny Delight, Land O’ Lakes, and McCormick spices.