If a company was secretly substituting your food for a laboratory-created, food-like substance, would you want to know before you bought and ate it? Of course you would. Polls routinely show that 90 percent of all Americans support genetically modified food labeling. So how is it that California’s Proposition 37, which would require GMO food labeling, was defeated so soundly yesterday?
The answer is a last-minute $45-$48 million advertising campaign by multi-national food corporations asking the state’s voters to vote ‘No’ on Prop 37. With 90% voter support and no legitimate reason to vote against the ballot initiative, it would seem that pure, old-fashioned, repetitive advertising carried the day.
As of Wednesday morning, 94.8% of California’s Election Day votes have been counted. Here’s where Prop 37 vote totals stand (from the California Secretary of State):
- Yes (support GMO labeling) – 4,194793 (47%)
- No (oppose GMO labeling) – 4,723,681 (53%)
With roughly 450,000 votes still outstanding, the margin is simply too large for any last-second turn-around for those who support the initiative. Now, the only question California media outlets are asking is, ‘how did it lose?’.
Proposition 37’s reversal of fortune
Past surveys and polls of American consumers clearly show that as many as 90% support the labeling of genetically modified food. As detailed by the local Santa Cruz Sentinel, Prop 37 was leading in the polls with 67% support as recently as 9 days before the election. But by last Friday, 4 days before the election, support for Prop 37 had drastically dropped to just 42%. What Earth-shaking revelation was discovered that reversed surveys by 25% in just 5 days? Nothing. Instead, it was the result of a massive media buy, running thousands of ‘Vote No on Prop 37’ commercials on California radio and TV.
Also, according to supporters of Proposition 37, the barrage of anti-37 ads were misleading and deceptive. Some went so far as to use the term ‘dirty tricks’ to describe the last-second advertising campaign by an assortment of global food giants. Responding to the accusations of misleading voters with their ads, a food industry spokesperson rejected those claims as desperation. “Desperate times have apparently caused them to resort to desperate measures," Kathy Fairbanks was reported saying in the above referenced report.
Corporations behind the ‘Vote No’ ad campaign
Pooling their resources and launching a simultaneous media blitz to change the minds of California voters, industry corporations raised and spent at least $45 million for the ‘Vote No’ campaign. That compares to just $8 million raised by an assortment of consumer advocacy groups in support of the initiative.
Here is a list of the multi-national corporations behind the $45-$48 million ad campaign and the amount each contributed (from BeforeItsNews.com):
MONSANTO COMPANY - $8,112,069
E.I. DUPONT DE NEMOURS & CO. - $5,400,000
PEPSICO, INC. - $2,145,400
GROCERY MANUFACTURERS ASSOCIATION - $2,002,000
BASF PLANT SCIENCE - $2,000,000
BAYER CROPSCIENCE - $2,000,000
DOW AGROSCIENCES LLC - $2,000,000
SYNGENTA CORPORATION - $2,000,000
KRAFT FOODS GLOBAL, INC. - $1,950,500
NESTLE USA, INC. - $1,461,600
COCA-COLA NORTH AMERICA - $1,455,500
GENERAL MILLS, INC. - $1,230,300
CONAGRA FOODS - $1,176,700
KELLOGG COMPANY - $790,700
SMITHFIELD FOODS, INC. - $683,900
DEL MONTE FOODS COMPANY - $674,100
CAMPBELL SOUP COMPANY - $598,000
Last-ditch effort to stop the ‘Vote No’ campaign
In a last-minute attempt to derail the corporate-funded anti-Prop 37 food labeling ballot initiative, supporters filed a complaint with the US Attorney’s office in California. According to backers of Proposition 37, the complaint accused opponents of the measure of false and misleading advertising. According to the US Attorney however, the complaint simply accused the ad campaign of misusing the FDA seal in its spots.
To view one of the many ‘Vote No on 37’ ad spots, see the video section of this article.
Subscribe to this independent political column. It’s FREE and you can unsubscribe at any time. Simply click on the ‘Subscribe’ link below.