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Big Business Paying Millions to Keep Public in the Dark about GMOs

Big Business Paying Millions to Keep Public in the Dark about GMOs

Washington citizens want to know what’s in their food, which is why the ballot initiative 522 is underway to require GMO labeling of food products including raw agricultural commodities, processed foods, seeds and seed stocks.

This is truly great news and can pave the way for other states and even the national government to follow suit, yet we may want to hold off on celebrating for no. Big business is already trying their best to make sure 522 does not pass by funneling millions into a campaign called No on 522.

According to Washington’s Public Disclosure Commission, the No on 522 campaign has received a total of $11,098,256 contributions, mostly from big business. Monsanto and Dupoint Pioneer have donated the most at $4,834,411 from Monsanto and $3,420,159 from Dupoint. Other contributors include the Grocery Manufacturers Association at $2,222,500, Bayer Cropscience at $591,654 and Dow Agrosciences at $29,531.

“It is the return of the big money, but we’re not surprised,” said Katherine Paul, spokesperson for Organic Consumers Association, a top donor to the pro-labeling campaign in Washington, reports Politico. “This is a fight between consumers and humungous corporations.”

Big business contributions tower over Yes on 522 campaign funds, which amount to $3.5 million and include donations from Annie’s, Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, Organic Consumer Fund, Nature’s Path Foods and Amy’s Kitchen, Stoneyfield Farm, among many others.

Yes on 522 spokesperson Elizabeth Larter says that the flood of funds to defeat their campaign was expected as 522 opponents have no individual donors or in-state donors like Yes on 522, reports TakePart.

Other major corporations that have yet to back No on 522 but supported a prior anti-labeling initiative in California include PepsiCo Inc., Coca-Cola Co. and Kraft foods. Right now there is no news if they too plan to provide support No on 522 yet, according to TakePart. If they do though, Yes on 522 will be left in the dust in terms of campaign contributions.

Money is power in political campaigns and initiatives yet that doesn’t necessarily guarantee a victory for either side as other factors come into play. For instance, there is already overwhelming strong support of 522. According to a recent Elway Poll, two out of three voters said that they would be voting in favor of the ballot initiative.

These results mirror California’s 2012 campaign for GMO labeling, yet this campaign, as many know, was defeated by  just a three percent vote. Food industry companies and other groups spent a total of $46 million (over $8 million was directly from Monsanto) and ran a number of TV ads to make sure California’s initiative failed.

TV ads are expected from the No on 522 campaign as well but no announcement has been given for when they will be airing yet.

We can only hope that Washington voters will ignore the bombardment of opposition remarks and ads from No on 522 and check the right box when their ballots arrive in their mailboxes on October 18.

Looking for more information about GMOs? Read up on the failure of GMO crops here, 10 scary facts about GMOs here and the environmental impact of GMOs right here. Then discover five ways to avoid GMOs by clicking here.

Image Source: John Serrao/Flickr

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