Colorado has emerged as the latest state to bring GMO labeling to the ballot box. Following the precedent set by Vermont, Connecticut, and Maine, Colorado’s Proposition 105 would require that all foods made with genetically modified ingredients be labeled as such by July 1st 2016.
Last year’s upset of Washington’s GMO labeling law and Vermont’s current lawsuit is a reminder that there are some folks that aren’t too happy with GMO labeling laws, namely, Big Food and Big Ag. Niraj Chokshi of the Washington Post explains how the same opposition will most likely emerge in Colorado:
The placement of the measure on the ballot could bring a huge wave of corporate spending, as was seen last fall in Washington state last year. Despite early signs that it would pass, the measure was ultimately defeated in Washington as an infusion of corporate spending flooded the state making the initiative campaign the most expensive in state history. Groups opposed were funded in large part by food giants, such as Pepsico, Nestle, Coca-Cola, General Mills, the Grocery Manufacturers Association, Monsanto and Dupont. Two groups opposed to the measure spent $33 million, while $10 million was spent by groups in support of it."
As Jenny Hopkinson from Politico’s Morning Ag reported last week, that opposition is already there. So far, pro-biotech companies have contributed $200,000 to Colorado’s main GMO labeling opposition group, the not so subtly named Coalition Against the Misleading Labeling Initiative. Hopkinson gives us some of the stats:
The highest donors were the Grocery Manufacturers Association, which contributed $100,000 and an additional $800 in donated staff support; Monsanto gave $54,159; Pioneer Hi-Bred Research Center who ponied up $38,500; and Dow AgroSciences gave $6,500. The Colorado Farm Bureau, Biotechnology Industry Organization, Colorado Bioscience Association, Nutrition Edge Communications and the Rocky Mountain Food Industry Association each contributed in-kind services."
Hopefully media spin and fear mongering will stay at bay from both sides of the argument and the people of Colorado will be able to vote for what they want, but if Washington and Vermont’s stories serve as indication, this will most likely be an ugly fight. We’ll continue to watch and support the Proposition 105, so stay tuned!
By the way, if you are interested in supporting Colorado’s bill, as well as Oregon’s, then check out Food Democracy Now’s fundraising campaign to counter the Big Food backlash on these bills.
- GMO labeling measure makes Colorado’s November Ballot via Washington Post
- FOOD, BIOTECH INDUSTRIES STEP IN TO COLORADO via Politico Morning Agriculture
- GMO food labeling initiative approved for Colorado ballot proposition via The Denver Post
Read all articles by Damon Cory-Watson