GMO prop drops in poll as spending against soars

November 2, 2012

As food and biotechnology giants spend millions of dollars battling Proposition 37, support for the mandatory genetically modified food measure is sinking. [California Watch]

An October 25 poll by the Los Angles Times and the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences revealed that 44 percent of California voters supported the food labeling measure, a 17 percent decline from September.

While support for Prop. 37 has plummeted, spending by food and biotechnology companies against the measure has increased to more than $44 million. Major manufacturer of genetically engineered seeds, Monsanto, has spent $8.1 million opposing to the labeling measure, followed by chemical company DuPont which has contributed $5.4 million. Food giants Kraft and PepsiCo, as well as Syngenta, which manufactures seeds and pesticides, have each given about $2 million to the campaign against Proposition 37.

Proponents of the labeling measure have raised only $7.3 million, about one sixth of the amount contributed by the opposition.

Director of the USC/Los Angeles Times Poll Dan Schnur said the spending gap has certainly impacted the decline in voter support.

“There’s no question that the money has had a tremendous impact,” Schnur told California Watch. “On the other hand, they’ve spent it very effectively.”

Spokesman for the Proposition 37 campaign Stacy Malkan has taken note of the spending impact as well.

“They’ve been carpet-bombing the state with a million dollars a day in deceptive ads,” Stacy Malkan said. “We haven’t been able to counter this stuff because they’re on the air every hour, sometimes four times an hour, on every station across the state.”

But, the genetically modified labeling opposition says that the campaign against the measure does not just consist of big corporations. Spokeswoman for No on 37 Kathy Fairbanks said the proposed regulation will increase farmers’ costs and make grocery stores vulnerable to lawsuits.

“There’s no question that this measure makes it easy for lawyers to file baseless shakedown lawsuits,” Fairbanks said. “It creates a very rich, lucrative target for them.”


27 Comments

  1. obispan says:

    GMO also allows corporations from prohibiting anyone from growing any food without their permission and for a fee. Monsanto successfully sued an organic farmer in Canada whose seed crop they polluted from neighboring farms. Iraq’s new constitution prohibits use of seed unless you can prove it was purchased from a company holding a patent for that seed (guess who wrote that!). Prop 37 will go down because people are stupid (P.T. Barnum) and people just watch TV and don’t read for themselves, so much easier these days with the internet, but the people have chosen to utilize the internet for Facebook and porn rather than articles.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 7

    • racket says:

      How is monkeying with CA label law going to effect an organic farmer in Canada?

      I recognize that the internet suffix of Canada is .ca, and the abbreviation for California is CA, but I think it’s going to take more than that to effect a result.

      Oh, wait, I think I get it. Anything you can do to mess with the adversary is fair game. Regardless of the collateral damage caused.

      No thanks.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 4

      • WiseGuy says:

        Look at is this way: Don’t you want to know if there are any potentially dangerous ingredients in the food you are considering eating?

        And of course labeling laws and protocols in California could have an effect on products in Canada.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 5

  2. RayCollins says:

    Certainly, there’s no reason to fear any delayed effect from the ingestion of genetically modified food products by insects, cattle, and people. Do some interesting reading: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetically_modified_food_controversies

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 3

    • WiseGuy says:

      Yes, if even a tenth of the problems listed in that link are valid, then GMOs should rightly be labeled as “potential toxic if ingested.”

      Don’t be suckers, folks. Because we all know what this could lead to: Soylent Green! (or some clever variation, and no need to label the ingredients now that the public has been well trained to not care what they are eating, trusting to the chemical corporations to take care of us like their own children.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 6

  3. WiseGuy says:

    The insect-killing aspects bred into GMO food is said to also have a detrimental effect on the health-giving flora in our digestive system, creating any number of intestinal and bowel problems, among other unwanted and unpublicized effects.

    There are medical doctors working in SLO County who concur with this theory based upon observations of patients and scientific reports.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 6

  4. WiseGuy says:

    Everyone deserves the right to know what is in the food they buy. If the food industry can get away without having to disclose it, they can get away with ANYTHING.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 6

  5. The Gimlet Eye says:

    India: A panel appointed by the Supreme Court of India recommends suspending all GMO crop field trials until important conditions are met. [These include animal testing prior to field trials, the removal of conflicts-of-interest among regulators, and a study by qualified scientists to prove the long-term safety of GMOs.]

    Mercola 2012 Oct 30

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 3

  6. racket says:

    With no deleterious health effects associated with GMOs, what’s the demonstrable need for labelling?

    Going further, why not label all “non-local”, or “non-sustainable” (whatever that means), or whatever the current boogeyman is?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 13

    • WiseGuy says:

      If GMO foods were perfectly safe, tens of millions of people throughout the world would not be actively trying to avoid eating them.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 8

      • racket says:

        But couldn’t their needs, I mean your needs, be met with existing Truth in Advertising laws? The non-GMO producers could label their product “GMO Free” or whatever as an enticement for you to buy it.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 3

        • WiseGuy says:

          Short answer to your question: Absolutely not.

          Think about it!

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 7

          • racket says:

            I thought I had thought about it before I posted. Walk me thru it.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

            • WiseGuy says:

              OK, see if you can follow this analogy:

              When we go to the hardware store–especially in the paint and chemicals section–many products have warnings about dangerous ingredients in them. Those warnings help people avoid problems and be safe. We would not think of removing those warning labels and simply pointing out the products that have labels that say they have no dangerous ingredients.

              Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

              • Cindy says:

                You and Racket both make your points. I personally would like to see all products containing GMO fillers labeled. However, it would appear that fillers such as GMO soya is becoming so common that it should be assumed that is most likely in play to some extent in most food products. Just like organic foods, we assume that all produce and animal products are not organic unless it’s labeled to the contrary.

                These day’s people who don’t want gluten sugar, fat or salt look for the products that say, gluten free, fat free,no sugar added, reduced salt, free range, organic etc. It would almost make sense to label foods GMO FREE. No doubt there will become a new wide spread niche of GMO FREE products. It’s a reasonable alternative when more GMO foods are in play than less.

                Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

                • Cindy says:

                  P.S. I will be voting YES on 37… Just saying that I can live with the alternative route of leaving the onus on the farmer/processor to inform us of the products that are GMO free.

                  Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  7. critizencane says:

    Yes, there may be law suits if 37 passes but it will be the manufacturer’s and chem/seed companies that will be able to be sued. Once the source of woe can be identified it can be found liable.
    We would not have to have 37 if the FDA was doing it’s job. Just label it!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 7

    • r0y says:

      If there was a guarantee that distributors and markets “down the food chain” would be exempt, I’d be more for 37 than I am now; however, this is not the case, and it will open up a whole can of worms in litigation.

      I have no faith in the FDA. At all. It is bought and sold every day by competing companies to screw with their competitors. It is yet another sham of an agency not needed. State and local agencies would do a better job, and make it difficult to buy influence (50 state agencies vs. 1 federal agency).

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 4

    • The Gimlet Eye says:

      The free market is better than the FDA. The truth will out and the BUYERS will determine which company survives or thrives and who does not.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

      • racket says:

        I agree. Let the non-GMO producers tout their “clean” products and wait for the world to beat a path to their door.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

        • WiseGuy says:

          With the GMO purveyors claiming GMOs are harmless and products hiding the fact that they contain GMOs, there will be little incentive for the average consumer and children to search out alternatives.

          Why anyone (other than GMO purveyors) would purposely campaign to keep the list of ingredients of food products secret is beyond me.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

    • WiseGuy says:

      If the lawsuits will make our community healthier and happier and stop people from acting illegally, then bring ‘em on! Why not?

      But the truth is, these labeling laws will likely DECREASE the number of lawsuits that will be filed by people who are harmed by consuming products where aspects of the ingredients or methods of manufacture are hidden.

      Overall, the passage of Prop 37 will cut down on lawsuits and give consumers more choice. Win-Win!

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 6

  8. SLOBIRD says:

    BIG BUSINESS WINS AGAIN AND THE PEOPLE ARE THE LOSERS, AGAIN AND AGAIN, AND AGAIN.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 11

    • r0y says:

      How do they win? By spending money running ads? You are attacking the messenger if you feel this is how they’ve “won.”

      We need to have a populace that can critically think for themselves, regardless of what is displayed on TV/radio.

      If I am for or against something, buying me dinner and a foot rub isn’t going to change my mind. Why would a TV/radio commercial do the same? The issue here is ignorant voters – not ignorant in a derogatory sense, but truly lacking enough information to understand an issue. Generally this is a result of lack of critical thinking and/or time to invest in researching a subject (aka laziness or very busy).

      It’s like limiting spending on political ads we’ve had here before, don’t be mad because one side spends more on ads, be mad that people are not critically thinking things through. Also, some issues are harder to side with on.

      I am torn on 37. I’d love to see labeling, and it will not change my shopping/eating habits one bit, but I do not want to encourage an increase in litigation (we’ve enough of it already). All new laws beget new lawsuits.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 8

      • WiseGuy says:

        There is nothing wrong with lawsuits that stop people from doing illegal, harmful things. Laws, despite the best efforts of some industry leaders, can make for a more healthy, happy and peaceful community.

        If GMO foods were perfectly safe, tens of millions of people throughout the world would not be actively trying to avoid eating them.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 4

        • r0y says:

          We’ve all been eating GMO foods for centuries. It’s called corn! Anything with corn in it is a GMO. Heck, most all of soy and wheat are also GMO. Pineapples, tomatoes, etc.

          Whenever someone (big/evil/ag conglomerate or backyard-gardener) breeds plants, that’s technically modifying it’s genetics. Been doing this for centuries. Corn cannot survive on it’s own in nature, it’s so modified from what it originally was.

          I think the confusion is the conditioning we’re all recieving regarding “GMO” – one narrative is “bad for you, evil!” the other is “your great-grandparents even ate GMO foods” Granted, there’s a large GRAY area when it comes to Monsanto, meat industry and hormones, etc. Perhaps GMO is trying to be too broad a term. Perhaps Prop 37 needs to be more specific and not try to umbrella any and all things monkeyed with by man since the garden of eden.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4

          • WiseGuy says:

            rOY, once AGAIN, you literally don’t know what you are talking about and you are misleading readers. Are you truly that ignorant, or are you pimping from the GMO industry.

            We have certainly NOT been eating GMO food for centuries. It’s a more modern phenomena that coincides with an increase in human digestive problems, among other maladies that may or may not be attributed to GMO foods, but links are suspected by many experts.

            But bottom line is that all we are asking for are proper labels so we can make wise choices for ourselves and loved ones,.

            rOy, as usual, you are campaigning for IGNORANCE,. Why? Why encourage ignorance and secrecy? Are you nuts or a pimp?

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

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