When a group of pro-labeling moms in Washington State figured out that the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) was breaking the state’s campaign finance disclosure laws, they did something about it. They formed a grassroots group, Moms for Labeling, and they sued the GMA.
Their complaint? The GMA is concealing the identities of out-of-state corporations, namely Big Food companies, which are funneling donations to the NO on I-522 campaign through the multi-billion dollar Washington D.C.-based lobbying group. The Moms had a whistleblower lined up to testify. But then the judge dismissed their case, on a technicality.
You’d think that would have been enough to make the GMA happy, but no. The lobbying giant went after the Moms with a countersuit, prompting a judge to slap the Moms with a $10,000 fine, under a law that is supposed to protect citizens from frivolous suits by big companies.
End of story? Not yet. In dismissing the suit, the judge ruled that under the circumstances, only the state attorney general now has the authority to sue the GMA for violating Washington’s Public Disclosure Act.
The NO on I-522 campaign has so far raised $17.1 million to blanket the airwaves with lies, as it tries to scare voters into voting against the I-522 GMO labeling initiative. The GMA, which represents over 300 corporations including Kraft, Kellogg’s, Monsanto, Dupont, Starbucks, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, ConAgra and General Mills, has kicked in $7.2 million so far – $5 million more than the lobbying group spent last year in California, to defeat a similar GMO labeling initiative.
Who’s missing from the NO on I-522 donor roster this year? The junk food giants who spent millions last year, but this year, are hiding their donations from public view.
Let’s pick up where the Moms for Labeling left off, by insisting that Washington’s attorney general force the GMA to comply with the state’s campaign disclosure laws.
OCA Presents Monsanto Minions Awards, Stages Anti-Lobbying Protest
Today’s the day. The OCA, with our friends at Occupy Monsanto, will deliver the first annual Monsanto Minions Awards.
But that’s only half the story. Remember Abbie Hoffman’s famous 1967 New York Stock Exchange theatrical protest? Where Hoffman and the Yippies threw cash out on the trading floor, prompting a Wall Street-style dash for cash?
Today, (October 10, 2013), our pro-GMO labeling, anti-Monsanto activists, posing as biotech and big food industry lobbyists, will stage a similar protest. They’ll dump briefcases of cash onto the X-ray machines at the entrances to the Congressional office buildings, where lobbyists are waiting to go through the metal detectors. We’re hoping the real corporate lobbyists will lunge for the fluttering bills, causing enough of a ruckus to shut down the entrance.
Lobbyists scurrying to grab dollar bills? It’s the perfect metaphor for what’s happening right now on Capitol Hill. Despite the government shutdown, lobbyists are meeting with the Congresspersons they supported financially during the elections in the hopes of convincing them - with cold hard cash, no doubt - to create or protect federal laws designed to feather their own nests.
As for the Monsanto Minions Awards, according to your votes, we’re crowning Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) as your favorite Monsanto Minion. You can see the rest of the results here. Thanks for voting, and let’s keep up the pressure on our favorite minions!
Voting starts in 8 days. It ends on Nov. 5. But Washington State Governor Jay Inslee hasn’t yet made up his mind on whether or not to support I-522, Washington State’s GMO labeling initiative.
Maybe we (meaning you) can help push him off the fence?
Please call Gov. Inslee today - 360-902-4111. Ask him to support I-522.
Washington State is ground zero for the GMO labeling movement. If we can pass I-522, the state-wide ballot initiative to label GMOs, we’ll send a clear message to Washington D.C., Monsanto, Big Food, and all 50 state legislatures: Consumers want GMO labeling laws. And we won’t stop until we get them.
Pick up your phone. Give him a call. 360-902-4111 Thank you!
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For the World
“Consumers ultimately determine what they eat and therefore what the food system produces.” - The State of Food and Agriculture, 2013, published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
Next Wednesday, October 16, is World Food Day. A day that marks the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
This year’s theme? Sustainable food systems for food security and nutrition. Tagline: Healthy people depend on healthy food systems.
FAO research tells us that if we want to address world hunger, we must invest in “sustainable intensification” - not expensive GMO technology that threatens biodiversity and holds us hostage to a system that depends on fossil fuels, fossil water, and agrochemicals.
We must stop investing in a system that makes earth and the humans who inhabit it, sick.
According to the FAO, consumers – you, us – have the power to determine what our food system produces. By determining what we choose to eat.
Here in the U.S., the country that grows 40 percent of the world’s genetically engineered crops, our choices are not always so clear. Because here in the U.S., home of Monsanto - the dominant player in the global GMO market - food manufacturers are not required to label the genetically engineered ingredients they put in our food.
We must change the system. You can help, today, by investing in the movement to require labels on GMOs. Thank you!
Of course, there can be some tension, as when Coca-Cola recently campaigned against a measure in California to force companies to label genetically modified ingredients. Honest Tea favors transparency in labeling.
Goldman says that “after internal discussions,” Coca-Cola will not be directly lobbying against a similar effort in the state of Washington, although it is a funder of trade associations arguing against the labeling.
Seriously? So what’s the difference between Coca-Cola, owner of the Honest Tea brand, “directly” lobbying against Washington State’s I-522 ballot initiative to label GMOs, as opposed to “indirectly” lobbying against I-522 through hidden donations to the NO on I-522 campaign? Donations the junk food giant is funneling through the Grocery Manufacturers Association?
Last year the GMA plunked down $2 million to defeat a GMO labeling initiative in California. This year, in Washington State, where experts agree it will take far less money to saturate the airwaves than it took in California, the GMA has so far donated $7.2 million to the NO on I-522 campaign. Why so much more? Because the GMA did a special assessment to raise money from companies like Coca-Cola, who don’t want the bad publicity they got last year when their donations to the No on 37 campaign were made public.
Let’s be honest, Mr. Goldman. Just because Coca-Cola is hiding behind the GMA’s skirts, doesn’t mean the junk food giant isn’t lobbying against I-522 in Washington State. If Honest Tea wants to take a real stand for consumers, you and your company will donate much-needed money to win the GMO labeling battle in Washington State.
The Last Stand of the Orangutan: The Power is in Your Palm
Palm oil is found in roughly half the products sold in grocery stores. Its production is now one of the leading causes of rainforest destruction worldwide. And the single biggest threat to orangutans. Our friends at Rainforest Action Network teamed up with Free Range Studios to produce this 2-minute video. The video is launching “The Last Stand of the Orangutan: The Power is in Your Palm” - a new national campaign to expose the U.S. snack food industry for putting Conflict Palm Oil into the food products we buy every day. Please watch and share widely!
Looking for something to do on World Food Day? How about joining in a protest against Monsanto, the No. 1 enemy of the world’s food?
Two groups - March against Monsanto and Moms Across America - are targeting the Biotech Bully during the week of October 12 – 18. You can help them draw attention to Monsanto’s destructive ways by joining an event near you, or organizing your own event. Both groups provide information about locations, instructions on how to organize an event, and all the inspiration you need.
You know who the bad guys are. The brands and companies that have pumped millions into campaigns aimed at defeating your right to know. But there are a lot of companies on your side, too. The best way to reward those companies is to buy their products. So we’ve just made it a little easier to find them.
The OCA has created “Buy Organic Brands that Support Your Right to Know,” a campaign on the popular buycott.com mobile phone app. It works like this. First, download the app (it’s free), and sign up for our campaign. Then take your mobile phone with you to the store, and use the app to scan the barcode on products before you buy them. The app will look up the product, determine what brand it belongs to, and figure out what company owns that brand .Then it will cross-check the product owners against the companies and brands included in our “Right to Know” campaign.
It’s free. It’s easy. And it sends a powerful message to the corporations competing for our dollars.
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