As ballots in Washington state are still being counted, current results show that No votes for Ballot Initiative 522 (which would requiring labeling of foods containing GMOs) are leading the Yes votes 54.8% to 45.2%. Though at this point it’s still too close to call, no matter what the outcome there’s important lessons we can learn from the campaign.
Despite increasing awareness of the real dangers of GMOs, thanks largely to independent media and grass-roots organizations, huge influxes of corporate cash can cloud the issue and sway public opinion in an incredibly short period of time. As reported by Al Jazeera:
Obviously, biotech and processed food companies are extremely alarmed by the notion of people knowing what foods contain GMOs. They must realize there’s enough awareness of the dangers of GMOs for a significant percentage of the population to act on such information and hurt their profits. Why else would they spend a record amount of money in Washington state elections (over $21 million) to defeat I-522? The average donation against I-522 was more than 20,000 times larger than the average donation in support of it. Not surprisingly, the largest percentage was spent by Monsanto. Emma Goldman famously said: “If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal”. There’s definitely some truth to that, but on the other hand if voting did nothing, corporations like Monsanto wouldn’t spend so much money to influence the outcome.
Not only do they not want the public to know what’s in their foods, they don’t want the public to know who’s spending the money to keep them in the dark. The Grocery Manufacturer’s Association refused to reveal the names of their anti-GMO labeling corporate donors until they were forced to by a lawsuit from the WA State Attorney General. Storylink.com published the following list with respective donation amounts and contact information links:
PepsiCo, Inc. – $1,620,899
Nestle USA Inc. – $1,052,743
The Coca-Cola Company – $1,047,332
General Mills Inc. – $598,819
ConAgra Foods – $285,281
Campbell Soup Company – $265,140
The Hershey Company – $248,305
The J.M. Smucker Company – $241,091
Kellogg Company – $221,852
Mondelez Global LLC – $144,895
Flowers Foods Inc. – $141,288
Abbott Nutrition – $127,459
Pinnacle Foods Group LLC – $120,846
Dean Foods Company – $120,245
McCormick & Company Inc – $102,208
Land O’Lakes, Inc. – $99,803
Cargill Inc. – $98,601
The Hillshire Brands Company – $97,398
Bunge North America, Inc. – $94,993
Bimbo Bakeries USA – $94,693
Del Monte Foods Company – $86,576
Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc. – $55,313
Hormel Foods Corporation – $52,908
Bumble Bee Foods LLC – $36,073
Welch Foods, Inc. $28,859
Shearer’s Foods, Inc. $25,251
Rich Products Corporation – $24,049
Clement Pappas & Company Inc. – $21,043
Sunny Delight Beverages Company – $21,043
Bush Brothers & Company – $16,233
Knouse Foods Cooperative Inc. – $14,429
The Clorox Company – $12,024
Bruce Foods Corporation – $3,006
Moody Dunbar Inc. – $1,804
As can be deduced from this list, there’s probably a lot more GMOs in supermarkets than most people realize. With or without GMO labeling, if one is concerned for personal and planetary health it’d be best to get into the practice of avoiding all processed foods as much as possible and look specifically for foods labeled as “non-GMO”.
As an alternative to the GMO labeling movement, activists such as Jon Rappoport, Mike Adams and others have suggested organizing around banning GMOs as 26 countries have already done and the Los Angeles City Council has recently proposed.
On the lighter side, this should come as no surprise to anyone, but corporate assholes apparently don’t know how to throw a party. While they should’ve been celebrating last night, this is what Seattle’s weekly alternative paper The Stranger reported:
MONSANTO DOES NOT KNOW HOW TO THROW A PARTY
The No on GMO labeling campaign is supposedly hosting a party at the Westin Hotel. They have burned some serious bucks opposing Initiative 522, almost all of it coming from out of state. As for the party? No one is here. There is bottled water, Coca Cola, and cookies on a table. No real food. Seriously, three people in the room—one from Seattle Times. It’s all very strange.
THE MONSANTO MORGUE
This is what it must feel like to be in a conference room in the Death Star. No one has anything to do. No one is around. But those checking names at the door have to wait and wait like something might happen. Power functions with no one. Power does not need people. People are democracy.