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Debate Pits Companies Against Organic Customers

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Genetic Engineering page, Millions Against Monsanto page and our California News page.

General Mills Inc. and other big food firms have been snapping up organic brands in recent years, putting them in an uncomfortable spot with organic consumers in California's food labeling battle.

The food giants have ponied up big bucks to defeat Proposition 37, which would force them to label products made from genetically engineered (GE) ingredients. But many organic consumers support Proposition 37.

Some are miffed that the owners of their favorite organic brands are working to kill it.

Organic consumers "are people who care about their food supply, and they want to know what's in it," said Mark Kastel , co-director of the Cornucopia Institute, a Wisconsin-based organic industry watchdog group. "They are the pinnacle of label readers."

By opposing Proposition 37, General Mills and other organic foodmakers "are eroding their brand equity by betraying the values of their customer."

General Mills declined to make an executive available for an interview. In an e-mail, the company said it has long believed that labeling regulations should be set at a national level, not state by state.

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