PepsiCo, Kraft, Coca-Cola, General Mills, ConAgra, Kellogg’s, Smucker’s, Unilever, and Dean Foods...
What do these companies have in common?
They all spent loads of money to help defeat California's Proposition 37, a ballot initiative that would have required genetically modified foods (GMOs) to be labeled. Now organic and right-to-know advocates are rightfully calling for a boycott, but it's complicated.
These major companies all have another thing in common, which is that they own many "organic" and "natural" brands as subsidiaries. In the case of PepsiCo, it's Naked Juice, Tostito’s Organic, and Tropicana Organic. In the case of Coca Cola, it's Honest Tea and Odwalla. The list goes on to include ubiquitous health-food-store finds like R.W. Knudsen, Santa Cruz Organic, Silk, Horizon, Gardenburger, Morningstar Farms, Kashi, Ben & Jerry's, and many, many more.
The irony of it is cruel, but one of the implications here is that if you've been shopping some of these organic brands to avoid consuming GMOs, you've actually been giving your money to parent companies that want to keep you in the dark on all things genetically modified. A boycott now means avoiding these brands (even the organic ones) in favor of others that aren't feeding their profits to conglomerates who work actively against food safety.
In recent years, national polls conducted by Reuters, ABC, MSNBC, the Washington Post, and Consumer Reports, have all shown that at over 90% of Americans want labeling for GMOs. In California, polls showed the "Yes on 37" votes at around 70% until these and other companies stepped in.
Common sense and overwhelming public support is why it took a $46 million ad campaign to generate enough confusion, fear, and doubt to kill the proposition. After all, it's expensive work convincing people to vote against their own best interest. The only way it works is if you've got enough money. Since there are GMO labeling initiatives on the horizon in Washington, Vermont, and other states, why not take steps to ensure that these opponent companies have less money to fight with next time?
If you are one of millions of consumers who are angered and disappointed by California's defeat, please help send a clear message to the companies who helped kill Prop 37.
Boycotts. Fewer sales. Less profit. It's the only language they understand.