GM Food Campaign is Now Million Dollar Fight

Aug 24, 2012 07:26 AM EDT | By Sharon Robinson

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The fight between 'California Right to Know', led by health advocates, and 'No on 37', led by Monsanto and its ilk, is heating up. (Photo : flickr.com)

When one million Californians signed a petition for proposition 37 to be put up for a state-wide vote, nobody thought that a war of sorts would begin between the supporters of prop 37 and non-supporters.

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Over the past few weeks, millions of dollars have been poured into the campaign. "California Right to Know," the group that supports labeling of GM food, has raised around $3 million. On the other hand, thanks to the support of many big-food corps and agri-businesses, "No on 37" has raised over $25 million. Last week alone, "No on 37" received donations equalling $13 million.

The largest contribution, of $4.2 million, to the non-labeling campaign has been made by Monsanto Co., the most infamous biotechnology giant, known for its aggressive GM food marketing. Other notable food corps includes Coca Cola, Pepsi Co., Kellogg and Nestle USA.

Both the coalitions expect this to turn into a media battle, where the one with the best "infomercials" will win.

The campaign revealed that even those companies claiming to have "all-natural" food products support the campaign against labeling, and have gone so far as to contribute thousands of dollars towards it. For instance, Silk soy milk, which has a "Non-GMO Project Verified" seal, is owned by Dean Foods, which has put in more than $250,000, into the "No on 37" campaign, reports Huffington Post.

Recent polls revealed that prop 37 is likely to win 3:1, regardless of the funds raised by the opposition, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.

The wants of the supporters of prop 37 seems pretty straight forward. They want to know if the food they eat every day is genetically modified or not. They fear that GM food increases the risk of allergies.

The non-supporters, on the other hand, claim that they support "No on 37" because food prices are likely to increase if food products are labelled.  Moreover, people are less likely to buy food with GM products, leading to a drop in sales.

Some blogs, including Farm Press, are going so far as calling prop 37 "anti-science." A blog post in Farm Press by Harry Cline, compares prop 37 to prop 215, which made medical marijuana legal in California.

The FDA, too, does not seem to be very supportive of prop 37. So far, it has maintained the stance that since no medical issues have arisen because of GM food, there is no reason to label GM food.

Come Nov. 6, the result of the fight between the two camps will be revealed. If prop 37 is passed, other states are likely to follow the example of California.

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