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Are Junk Food Corporations Hiding Behind Lobbyists to Stop GE Food Labeling in Washington State?

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

Nation's largest food makers' trade group, the Grocery Manufacturers Association, is donating big money to oppose I-522, but on whose behalf?

Even if you haven't heard of the Grocery Manufacturers Association, you know its members: the nation's largest food makers, those with the most at stake in the battle over GE food labeling, including soft drink and snack giant PepsiCo, cereal makers Kellogg and General Mills, and of course, biotech behemoth Monsanto.

GMA's main function is to lobby on behalf of its members. Last year, GMA spent more than $3 million lobbying at the federal level alone, on issues such as school food, marketing to children, food safety, sugar policy, food stamps, and most notably, in their own words, "introduction of new GMO traits" and "labeling of genetically modified ingredients." Also, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, in 2013, 29 out of 35 GMA's lobbyists qualify as "revolvers" because they have previously held government jobs. That's a lot of power.

I explained last year -- just as the battle over California's Proposition 37 was heating up -- how the trade group announced that defeating the initiative was "the single-highest priority for GMA" that year. The group ultimately donated more than $2 million to the No on 37 campaign, part the overall $46 million war chest that resulted in the ballot measure's narrow defeat.

But last year, top members of GMA also individually donated massive amounts of cash to defeat the consumer's right to know. For example, PepsiCo donated close to $2.5 million, Kraft more than $2 million, Coca-Cola $1.7 million, and the No on 37 donor page lists many more GMA members.


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