Organic Consumers Association

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Lies, Dirty Tricks, and $45 Million Kill GMO Labeling in California

California's Proposition 37, which would have required labeling of GMO foods, died a painful death last night. Despite polling in mid-September showing an overwhelming lead, the measure lost by 53 to 47 percent, which is relatively close considering the No side's tactics.

As I've been writing about, the opposition has waged a deceptive and ugly campaign, fueled by more than $45 million, mostly from the leading biotech, pesticide, and junk food companies. Meanwhile, the Yes side raised almost $9 million, which is not bad, but being outspent by a factor of five is tough to overcome.

While we can always expect industry to spend more, the various groups fighting GMOs for years probably could have been better coordinated. I was dismayed and confused by all the fundraising emails I received from different nonprofits on Prop 37 and wondered why they weren't pooling their resources.

But would more money and better strategy have made a difference? Given the opposition's tactics, it seems unlikely. I am not easily shocked by corporate shenanigans but the No on 37 campaign is my new poster child for propaganda and dirty tricks. It's worth recapping the most egregious examples.


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