Friday, June 8, 2012

California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act Under Attack in California

Meet The Corporate Front Groups Fighting To Make Sure You Can't Know What's In Your Food

"What do a former mouthpiece for tobacco and big oil, a corporate-interest PR flack, and the regional director of a Monsanto-funded tort reform group have in common?

They’re all part of the anti-labeling PR team that will soon unleash a massive advertising and PR campaign in California, designed to scare voters into rejecting the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act.

In November, California voters will vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on a law to require mandatory labeling of all GMO ingredients in processed foods, and ban the routine industry practice of mislabeling foods containing GMO ingredients as ‘natural.’

Polls show that nearly 90% of the state’s voters plan to vote ‘yes.’ But when November rolls around, will voter support still be strong? Not if the biotech, agribusiness, and food manufacturers industries can help it.

It’s estimated that the opposition will spend $60 million - $100 million to convince voters that GMOs are perfectly safe. They’ll try to scare voters into believing that labeling will make food more expensive, that it will spark hundreds of lawsuits against small farmers and small businesses, and that it will contribute to world hunger. None of this is true. On the contrary, studies suggest just the opposite.

Here’s what is true: The opposition has lined up some heavy-hitters and industry-funded front groups -- masquerading as “grassroots” organizations -- to help spin their anti-labeling propaganda machine.

You have the right to know what’s in your food. You also have the right to know who is working tirelessly to prevent you from ever having that right – and who is signing their paychecks. Here’s a partial lineup of hired guns and organizations behind the anti-labeling advertising blitz soon to hit the California airwaves:

Tom Hiltachk: Monsanto’s Man in California

Tom Hiltachk is the PR gunslinger behind the Coalition Against the Costly Food Labeling Proposition (CACFLP), an anti-labeling front group. A partner at the Sacramento-based lobbying firm Bell, McAndrews & Hiltachk, Hiltachk is no stranger to front groups. With a little help from his friends at Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds, he helped organize the Californians for Smokers’ Rights group to fight anti-smoking initiatives in the 1980s and 1990s. He also helped form the Californians for Fair Business Policy – a so-called “grassroots” organization, but actually a front group to mobilize business opposition to anti-smoking initiatives. That organization was funded by an “academic” front group – the Claremont Institute – which was in turn funded by tobacco companies.

Hitachk also has ties to Big Oil, including a colorful history with California’s Proposition 23, a conservative-backed ballot initiative launched – and defeated – in 2010. The initiative, supported by Big Oil, would have repealed California’s clean energy and climate laws. Hiltachk was initially an ally of Ted Costa, a veteran right-wing activist behind many conservative initiatives, including Prop 23, and head of the group People’s Advocate. But that relationship soured, according to, when Costa realized that Hiltachk’s main motivation was to funnel the $50 million that he hoped would be raised from oil companies and the Chamber of Commerce to himself and his friends.

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Labelling food as GMO will blow Monsanto's/ biotech's "substantial equivalence" lie that has kept it from being regulated out of the water. They know GMOs are not substantially equivalent to traditional crops. They were just looking for a way to sell the leftover toxins from their chemical warfare years before. Coating seeds with it and tying their selling to using their pesticides and herbicides as a condition of their contracts laden with fees is all part of their profit making scam. If they were actually "equivalent" why the need for them at all? Keeping labels off food and keeping the "substantial equivalence" myth surrounding them is their ticket to profit. They know if they were ever truly regulated properly they would not be in business.

They also know that the majority of consumers will not buy foods that are genetically modified and with good reason. They have been independently tested and found to be associated with kidney and liver failure in mammals as well as other side effects over time such as allergies. Studies have also shown that the dna does not break down in the intestines of animals as they claim it does, therefore even animals that eat GMO feed have a chance of being affected by it and passing it on. The precautionary principle was never employed regarding pushing these organisms on us out here and treating the Earth like a petrie dish just so Monsanto and other companies could make money off patents and intellectual property rights on nature which they did not create.

It is immoral to the core for them to be deceiving the public like this. It is about time their charade was made known to the world before it is too late. Already, allowing this genie out of the bottle to contaminate our crops worldwide to spread a monoculture world that now threatens biodiversity and that has tranferred its DNA horizontally into our environment without us knowing the full consequences years on shows how blatantly irresponsible they all are. Labels are the very least in lieu of BANNING these organisms that should be instituted now.

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