Big Food Enters the Fight over Colorado’s GMO Labeling Ballot Issue

Colorado's ballot measure 105, which would require labeling of certain genetically modified food, has run into heavy opposition from some of the nation's largest food corporations.

Joe Mahoney / Rocky Mountain PBS I-News

Colorado's ballot measure 105, which would require labeling of certain genetically modified food, has run into heavy opposition from some of the nation's largest food corporations.

Some of the nation’s largest agriculture and food corporations,  including such well-known names as Monsanto, Kraft Foods and PepsiCo., have lined up against Colorado’s Proposition 105, which would required labeling of certain genetically modified foods, or GMOs.

Those three companies alone have contributed $7.4 million of the $11 million raised by the campaign to defeat the ballot issue Nov. 4. With this money, they have mounted a vigorous TV ad campaign against 105.

The labeling advocates, however, have raised only $441,000, and have not purchased any television or radio advertising to advocate their position. The group is operating a grassroots campaign, knocking on doors and using social media.

This could mean that Coloradans who receive their information solely from TV ad campaigns think Colorado farmers do not support the labeling initiative – but that is only partly true.

The Colorado Farm Bureau has donated more than $7,000 to defeat the measure, but the Rocky Mountain Farmer’s Union, with more than 22,000 members in Colorado, Wyoming and New Mexico, actually endorsed the pro-labeling campaign.

“GMO labeling is one of the things that we support,” said Bill Midcap, director of external affairs of Rocky Mountain Farmers Union. “But we know it’s going to be tough for a single state to enact.

“How would you expect General Mills to label something special just for one state, just for Colorado?” Midcap said. “Think about Kellogg or Coca-Cola. Are they willing to change just for Colorado? Maybe if 15 states did it – but this would be more effective as a national issue.”

GMO labeling is also on the Oregon ballot this year. And as if to underscore Midcap’s point, Maine, Vermont and Connecticut are the only states to have passed labeling requirements, but they will not be enacted until 2016 – or until a population of at least 20 million people in neighboring states require the labeling, too.

Still, the measure could fare better than expected if a Citizens Initiative Review is  a guide. This was a politically balanced panel of voters who spent three days hearing from independent experts, pro and con views, and  then decided by an 11-to-9 vote to approve it.

2 thoughts on “Big Food Enters the Fight over Colorado’s GMO Labeling Ballot Issue

  1. GMO is a dangerous poison. Eating genetically modified corn (GM corn) and consuming trace levels of Monsanto’s Roundup chemical fertilizer caused rats to develop horrifying tumors, widespread organ damage, and premature death. rats exposed to even the smallest amounts, “developed mammary tumors and severe liver and kidney damage as early as four months in males, and seven months for females.” The animals on the GM diet suffered mammary tumors, as well as severe liver and kidney damage. Everywhere GMO is being grown, food allergies, disorders such as autism, reproductive disorders, digestive problems, and others have been skyrocketing in the human populations.

    There has been a drastic decline of crop-pollinating insects all over the world, and what this means for the future of the world’s food supply. Wild pollinators like bumblebees, butterflies, and beetles are basically disappearing. GMO industrial agricultural practices are causing this insect genocide. Pollinating insects in general, which include a wide range of insects and other animals, are simply vanishing from their normal habitats and foraging areas. That lower diversity and lower abundance of wild insects means less fruits and destruction of the diversity of plants and their fruits worldwide.

    GMOs cross pollinate and their seeds can travel. It is impossible to fully clean up our contaminated gene pool. Self-propagating GMO pollution will outlast the effects of global warming and nuclear waste. The potential impact is huge, threatening the health of future generations. GMO contamination has also caused economic losses for organic and non-GMO farmers who often struggle to keep their crops pure.

    GMOs increase herbicide use. Most GM crops are engineered to be “herbicide tolerant”―surviving deadly weed killers. Monsanto, for example, sells Roundup Ready crops, designed to survive applications of their Roundup herbicide. Between 1996 and 2008, US farmers sprayed an extra 383 million pounds of herbicide on GMOs. Overuse of Roundup results in “superweeds,” resistant to the herbicide. This is causing farmers to use even more toxic herbicides every year. Not only does this create environmental harm, GM foods contain higher residues of toxic herbicides. Roundup, for example, is linked with sterility, hormone disruption, birth defects, and cancer.

    GM crops and their associated herbicides can harm birds, insects, amphibians, marine ecosystems, and soil organisms. They reduce bio-diversity, pollute water resources, and are unsustainable. For example, GM crops are eliminating habitat for monarch butterflies, whose populations are down 50% in the US. Roundup herbicide has been shown to cause birth defects in amphibians, embryonic deaths and endocrine disruptions, and organ damage in animals even at very low doses. GM canola has been found growing wild in North Dakota and California, threatening to pass on its herbicide tolerant genes on to weeds.

    By mixing genes from totally unrelated species, genetic engineering unleashes a host of unpredictable side effects. Moreover, irrespective of the type of genes that are inserted, the very process of creating a GM plant can result in massive collateral damage that produces new toxins, allergens, carcinogens, and nutritional deficiencies.

    GMOs do not increase yields, and work against feeding a hungry world.

    Whereas sustainable non-GMO agricultural methods used in developing countries have conclusively resulted in yield increases of 79% and higher, GMOs do not, on average, increase yields at all. This was evident in the Union of Concerned Scientists’ 2009 report Failure to Yield―the definitive study to date on GM crops and yield.

    The toxins associated with GMO should never be tolerated. NEONICOTINOID PESTICIDE neurotoxins are absolutely the main factor causing the collapse of bee and pollinator populations along with other lethal chemicals, glysophate, etc. When these poisons are banned as they were in Europe the bee populations start to recover. GMO neonicotinoids, roundup etc. MUST BE BANNED OUTRIGHT and all the farmers along with USDA, Biotech and chemical companies told to cease and desist from what they are doing.

    An even scarier prospect: the “BT” version of GMO soybeans and corn, (basically pesticides engineered directly into the plant )

    The “BT toxin” gene is put into the DNA of the corn in order for it to manufacture its own toxins that kill pests. The BT gene originated from a soil bacteria that also infiltrates the microflora (friendly digestive bacteria) in your gut. The Bt gene converts the microflora in your intestine into toxin-manufacturing machines.

    So, to be clear, eating GMO corn products can cause your gut (which is primarily responsible for keeping you healthy) to turn into a breeding ground for tiny little pesticide factories inside your body, actively creating toxins which are designed to kill living things. These toxins are found in the blood and are readily transferred across the placenta to developing babies in the womb.

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