Sunday, June 17, 2012


Who opposes transparency in our food system?

Fri, Jun 6, 2012 11:07 AMNot everyone agrees that consumers have the right to know what’s in our food. Some large corporations have built a business strategy that relies on the lack of transparency in our food system. They have already spent millions of dollars lobbying to keep the words “genetically engineered” off our food labels, even though this type of labeling is standard in the rest of the industrialized world.
The California Right to Know initiative is a simple initiative to require labeling of genetically engineered foods. This type of labeling is already required in more than 40 countries, including all of Europe, Japan and even China. Yet opposition groups are hard at work trying to convince Californians that labeling is weird, scary and expensive.
Who is opposing the California Right to Know initiative?
The main opposition front group appears to be “Stop Costly Food Labeling,” which is funded primarily by two trade groups based in Washington DC, thousands of miles from California. They are the Biotechnology Industry Organization and Grocery Manufacturers Association. These trade groups are funded by corporations such as Monsanto, Dow Chemical, DuPont, Kraft and other large food manufacturers that routinely market genetically engineered food as “natural.”
Donations to “Stop Costly Food Labeling” go to the offices of the law firm Bell, McAndrews and Hiltachk. Tom Hiltachk -- a former tobacco industry lobbyist who was a lead proponent of Proposition 23, the oil-industry funded attempt to suspend California’s landmark global warming law -- is leading the effort to oppose the Right to Know initiative.
For more information about the opposition, see “Meet the Corporate Front Groups Fighting to Make Sure You Can’t Know What’s in Your Food.”
Tobacco lawyers like Hiltachk are infamous for spreading false information about the health effects of tobacco. So it is unsurprising that Hiltachk’s "Stop Costly Food Labeling" group has been spreading misinformation about the California Right to Know initiative. For the truth about their false claims, see Myths vs. Facts.

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