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Biotech Attack GMO Labeling in WA---Organic Brands Hide Behind Lobby Group

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

The Cornucopia Institute releases shopper's guide: pro/con I-522 brands

Proposition I-522, a citizen's initiative on the ballot on November 5 in Washington state, would mandate clear labeling of genetically engineered (GE) ingredients on food packages.  It has become the latest battleground pitting consumer and farmer advocates against multi-billion-dollar agribusiness corporations.

Recent polling indicates strong support for the Washington state informational labeling measure. But a flood of money to fight the ballot initiative has rolled in from Monsanto, DuPont, and other biotechnology interests and food manufacturers, now totaling over $11 million, according to Washington state election records.

"Consumers might be surprised to find out that some of their favorite organic and natural brands, hiding behind their lobbyist, the Grocery Manufacturers Association, are contributing bushel baskets of cash towards thwarting the consumer's right to know what is in their food in Washington," says Mark Kastel, Codirector of The Cornucopia Institute.

Cornucopia has released an infographic designed to inform consumers and let them make purchasing decisions reflecting their values. Many organic and natural food manufacturers are financially supporting the GMO labeling effort. They and other proponents are identified in Cornucopia's infographic along with the biotech and agribusiness concerns fighting the labeling effort.

Last year, a similar GMO labeling measure was narrowly defeated in California, with Monsanto and its allies pouring more than $46 million into their campaign and outspending labeling supporters by five to one. Many prominent organic and natural brands were outed in California by Cornucopia for their opposition to GMO food labeling.

Just recently, the powerful Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) publicly scrubbed its website of its members, a move thought by many to be an effort to mask which corporations/brands helped underwrite the $2.2 million already donated by the GMA against I-522. They haven't, however, been able to remove this web archive detailing their membership.

"They are obviously trying to hide their membership," says Trudy Bialic, Director of Public Affairs for PCC Natural Markets, a Seattle-based, member-owned grocery cooperative. PCC has been working on GMO issues since 1994 when rBGH - a genetically engineered growth hormone for dairy cattle - was a contentious issue.  


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