Island Food News – September 2012

The battle over labeling of foods containing Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) is heating up, even here on San Juan Island, and San Juan Food Coop is setting an example. In a recent web article, Organic Consumers.org blasted large food and beverage corporations for profiting from the sale of billions of dollars of their proprietary organic and "natural" foods brands, while at the same time funneling large sums of money to the Monsanto-led campaign to defeat the November 6th GMO labeling ballot initiative (Proposition 37) in California. Though the Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act is a California proposition, if corporations have to label their products for one huge state, it is most likely they will use the same labels across the country. In addition, once it's illegal to label foods including GMO ingredients as "natural," millions of consumers will boycott the products and demand alternatives, so what happens in CA will have far-reaching effects. The board of the San Juan Food Co-op will discontinue carrying the products they normally buy that were mentioned in the Organic Consumers article. The complete list of brands & products include:
  • Kashi, Bear Naked, Morningstar Farms; owned by Kellogg, which has contributed $632,000 to defeat Prop 37. In addition, Kashi's breakfast cereals have tested positive for the presence of GMOs.
  • Silk soy milk, White Wave Tofu, Horizon milk and dairy products; owned by the nation's largest dairy, Dean Foods, which has contributed $253,000 to the effort to defeat Prop 37.
  • R.W. Knudsen, Santa Cruz Organic, Smucker's; owned by Smuckers, which has contributed $388,000 to defeat Prop 37.
  • Cascadian Farm, General Mills, Larabar, Muir Glen; owned by General Mills, which has contributed $520,000 to defeat Prop 37.
  • Honest Tea, Odwalla, Coca-Cola; owned by Coca-Cola, which has contributed $1,164,400 to defeat Prop 37.
  • Naked Juice, Tostito's Organic, Tropicana Organic, Pepsi; owned by PepsiCo, which has contributed $1,716,300 to defeat Prop 37.
  • "O" Organics; Safeway's private label line of organic foods. Safeway is a member of the Grocery Manufacturers Association, which has contributed $375,000 to defeat Prop 37.
Locally, Initiative 2012-4, the Ordinance Prohibiting Growing Genetically Modified Organisms in San Juan County is gaining supporters. This ordinance would only prohibit GMO's, not hybrids or other improved varieties, and it would not affect what is sold in stores; it would only affect raising, growing, and propagation of GMO's. For more information about genetically modified foods, please visit the official website of The Campaign to Label Genetically Engineered Foods and Earthsave's webpage.

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