In September, Proposition 37 seemed a shoe in with 61 percent of voters supporting the initiative to label genetically engineered foods in California. However, just one month later, a Los Angeles Times poll released yesterday showed that 44 percent of surveyed voters backed Prop 37, while 42 percent opposed it. Some 14 percent remains undecided.
A likely reason why: The opposition (read: Monsanto Company, DuPont and the Grocery Manufacturers Association among others) has pumped $41 million into negative television advertisements, reports the LA Times.
In a media call yesterday, some of the top natural food leaders gathered to "correct the record," as moderator Ken Cook said, about the opposition's claims. Namely, the accusations that Prop 37 will lead to lawsuits and higher food costs for consumers.
On the call were:
- -Ken Cook, president of Environmental Working Group and call moderator
- -Michael Funk, Chairman and Co-Founder, UNFI
- -Andy Berliner, CEO, Amy's Kitchen of Petaluma, Calif.
- -Arran Stephens, CEO, Nature's Path Foods
- -David Lannon, Executive Vice President for Operations, Whole Foods Market, (representing 65 Calif. stores)
- -Jimbo Someck, CEO, Jimbo's Naturally (4 Southern California Locations)
- -Steven Hoffman, Managing Partner, Compass Natural Marketing
The "statistical dead heat" had the leaders fired up yet, in true David and Goliath style, confident that the Yes side will win. Several expressed hope that Prop 37 would take the same route that organic did 30 years ago when the organic label was passed in California-now a nationwide regulated label.