Report: Coca-Cola spends big to kill effort to label genetically modified foods

Coca-Cola is one of several mega-corporations trying to kill off an effort in California to identify foods that have been genetically modified on their package labels, The New York Times is reporting.

Coke is joining bioengineering kingpins including Monsanto and DuPont in spending millions on the campaign to crush what’s known as Proposition 37.

The battle pits some smaller organic foods companies like Nature’s Path and consumer advocates, who want the labeling requirement, against some  industry giants, who do not.

In a twist, some of the best-known organic foods brands, including Kashi, Cascadian Farm and Horizon Organic, are owned by giant companies like Kellogg and Dean Foods, who oppose the labeling.

Coca-Cola, owner of the Odwalla and Honest Tea brands, has put in more than $1 million to kill the initiative, the Times said.

In the U.S., most processed foods including cereals and snacks have lab-altered ingredients, the Times noted. Certified organic products are prohibited by law from containing genetically modified ingredients.

Opponents of the proposition wouldn’t comment directly on their thinking, but said through a campaign spokesperson that the enhanced labeling would add to producers’ costs and could scare consumers about the safety of genetically engineered crops, the report said.

However, the story added, the European Union has had biotech labeling for 15 years. There, companies have  generally re-formulated their products  to not include genetically modified ingredients and there was no impact on costs.

82 comments Add your comment

argh man

September 14th, 2012
11:22 am

Shame on them. But at least now I know their brands are not worth ingesting.

bjohndawg

September 14th, 2012
11:23 am

I dont expect much from my government. But one thing I do expect is the government( state or federal) to protect the integrity of the food supply. This should not even be up for debate.
True labeling of our products should be the norm so we know how the food was produced( natural, organic, altered/modified) and what is in it.Caloric intake etc. Then the consumer can make informed decisions.

Reality

September 14th, 2012
11:27 am

Let’s think about this…

These BIG corporations are spending MILLIONS to fight labeling.

#1 – Why? Why do they care about what print goes on a label? What are they afraid of?
#2 – How do they have so much money to throw around? In this “recession”, isn’t money supposed to be tight? Wait a minute – I guess that doesn’t go for those big corporations. They must be rolling around in money while the PEOPLE are starving. Maybe that is why the corporations DON’T need tax cuts?
#3 – Isn’t it a shame that corporations of any type can influence the legal system from doing “what is right?”

Three things to ponder…

gregory

September 14th, 2012
11:28 am

This reminds me of pink slime, and how they were pulling the wool over peoples heads. This another example of why Europe is 20 years ahead of the U.S.A. in every way, internet, food health, consumer protections, health care, and education. The giant corporations think the average American is dumb.

TallaDawg

September 14th, 2012
11:30 am

Big coporations and most reasonable individuals want all individuals to be personally responsible for their decisions, BUT the big coporations do not want individuals to be fully informed when making these decisions.

TallaDawg

September 14th, 2012
11:31 am

*corporations* X2

Yuck!

September 14th, 2012
11:31 am

It’s as if these companies are all under the Soylent Corporation umbrella.

Blue Fender

September 14th, 2012
11:37 am

Big corps will spend big money to keep inferior products on the top shelf, just so they don’t have to go forward with the rest of the world. I wish Coke would go back to using real sugar, not the crap they put in now. I loved it as a kid, but now the taste makes me gag.

South GA Dawg

September 14th, 2012
11:39 am

Talk about health insurance. I had a person from Australia staying in an apartment comples next door to me vack in 1992 that said he could not understand why the USA did not have national health insurance. He said they had it in Australia and it was as simple as the following: 1. A National Sales Tax of 7% for nothing but health insurance and one other perk. 2. Not socialized medicine as Canada, but he could go to any doctor he wanted and the total bill paid by insurance, the doctor could refer him to any specialist and health insurance paid the total bill, he could be sent to the hospital for stay because of illness, test, surgery etc. with total bill paid by health insurance, prescription drugs (including name brand not generic) paid by health insurance – he had no co-pays on any of his health coverage. 3. One perk – a two weeks vacation was paid to the employers for all full time employess because it was considered a part of good health care maintenance. To simple for us because the Insurance Companies were not in control.

Al

September 14th, 2012
11:39 am

And why should Americans spend their time worrying about food labels when we have such important things to worry about? Things such as abortion, same sex marriage, etc.

Toby

September 14th, 2012
11:40 am

They know people will buy non-GMO if the labeling happens… the CEO of Coke is legally obligated to make as money as possibly, so, that legal obligation is the problem more than the CEO’s character, really. Those labels should be allowed!

Shannon

September 14th, 2012
11:46 am

Al, if your comment is sarcasm, I want to like it like I would on facebook.. :) I grew up drinking Coke, and I like Odwalla lemonade. However, after seeing this I am seriously considering not buying Coke, Odwalla, or Kashi, which I buy frequently.

Animal Control

September 14th, 2012
11:55 am

They dont have to change the label for you to know how bad the food is. No one pays attention to the labels now, so it wont matter much when you add more info to them. When is the last time you checked a Coke label to determine how much sugar was in that drink and if it was actaully sugar or genetically modified sacharin, aspartame, etc? My guess is you wont be able to remember…Look at what is already there to determine if you are going to eat something. Rule of thumb at my house; if it errodes battery acid, its probably not the best idea to ingest it.

Its all GMO

September 14th, 2012
12:12 pm

Another example of political science vs the scientific method! Hypothetically: Your organic farm is 100 miles from Superfarm LLC. A crow eating corn at superfarm flies over your field and makes a deposit that results in a stalk of corn among your ‘clean’ produce. You are no longer an organic farm. 2nd Hypothetically: You start up a farm with the intent to grow non-GMO produce. Good luck on finding seed that hasn’t been rendered sterile so that you have to rebuy seed the next season. Thats GMO. 3rd Hypothetical: You are lucky enough to have no birds making deposits and found non-GMO seed from out of the country that you were able to hide from customs and forge US traceability so that it could be sold in the US after inspection. You even set up beehives to ensure pollination of your produce for next season, but your bees don’t care about this GMO/non-GMO crap. They go to the farms in a 2 or 3 mile radius and bring GMO pollen back. Boom. You are a GMO farm again.

Isabelle

September 14th, 2012
12:14 pm

I suggest if anyone hasn’t see the documentary “The Idiot Cycle” you should, it is streamed freely on the internet by the producers and explains so much behind Monsanto and GM foods. All it takes is to look at what Monsanto has done to destroy the average farmers self sufficiency and independence. We evolved eating nature the way it is. It doesn’t take a genius to realise that every time they do anything to our food, something is always discovered (after it is too late) to cause cancer or disease. But they rather test it on us first before they decide whether harmful or not – too bad if people get cancer because that just makes them more money with the chemotherapy they sell. Its a win win for big pharma and we let it happen. It’s time we wake up, there exists more of us than them, we have the power to decide who receives our money and who doesn’t.

C from Marietta

September 14th, 2012
12:17 pm

@ Reality

Like drama much? LOL

Turtle Man

September 14th, 2012
12:22 pm

“Coca-Cola has put in more than $1 million to kill the initiative…”

Does anyone else see how crazy this is? People and corporations can buy their way to getting what they want without our F’d up system!!! The moral and right thing to do is simply thrown to the side to make room for a greedy corporation to get what they want. I’m appalled this is the way we do things here in the States. No, this isn’t anything new to me. This just simply gets worse and worse every year. Do you ever wonder why when you go to Europe and eat a pastry it tastes better than it does here? Whelp, that’s because corporations don’t own the entire food systems and let local farmers, companies, etc. compete in the market.

Crazy Cat Dude

September 14th, 2012
12:24 pm

@gregory. The average American IS dumb.

PM

September 14th, 2012
12:26 pm

OK, THEN. Coke (Coke representative), hear this: I will never, ever (even if for free at work!) drink another Coke product in my life. I will try to convince my large family to do the same, based on this greedy, loveless action. We should know what foods are natural (in the real sense of the word) and which ones are carelessly manipulated by greedy men. How dare you, Coke!!?? …. never, ever….

PoliticalMan

September 14th, 2012
12:26 pm

I figure it will take about another 100 yrs for a majority of the public to realize that giant corporations have stomped all over our lives: politically, economically, socially, etc. Of course, by then the damage will probably not be reversible. But then again, the propaganda may not be penetrable.

PM

September 14th, 2012
12:32 pm

No, political man, there are always the Republicans and they are stupid and will, beyond 100 or 300 years, continue to ’stupid’ mentality (bred by greed and self-interest….). Hope you’re not one of them. Note that most natural-food, (wish to not have pesticides on their foods, food from God and not a science kitchen) are not republicans. Just an observation.

[...] From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Coca-Cola is one of several mega-corporations trying to kill off an effort in California to identify… [...]

jules

September 14th, 2012
12:41 pm

Reading the comments actually makes me feel a little bit better (better than I did after reading the article anyway). Clearly the “people DO “get it”, and they are NOT happy about “it”. What is “it”? “It” is that people and corporations can buy their way into getting whatever they want. Now, if only we could extend that a bit farther and the people would realize that “people (they would have to be wealthy people of course) and corporations are buying their way into getting what they want in our government. Lobbyists are some of the most well paid people in the “business” of government. Starting at the state level and moving right up to national. Which is why most big businesses hate our current President. He’s not for sale. “Out with him!” is their motto.
I really like the person who asked “What are they trying to hide?”

PoliticalMan

September 14th, 2012
12:54 pm

About 10 to 20 percent of the public “gets it.” But the distribution is very uneven across the country and on issues. Usually they have minimal impact. It is quite doubtful that Coke is worried about what 1 out of 10 think about them.

Jeff Nedelman

September 14th, 2012
12:56 pm

Can science based public policy decisions about food labeling survive in a fear based environment? We will see when all the dust settles about Prop 37.

Years ago FDA “split the baby” when it permitted dairy farms to say their milk did not contain rBST but FDA mandated that they add another sentence to the declaration that says to the effect, “Nevermind, there is no difference.” Organic milk is one thing. Changing labels for 80% of the food supply is another.

For more information read: http://stratcomwdc.blogspot.com/2012/07/will-luddites-win-on-gmo-food.html

ChillOut

September 14th, 2012
1:01 pm

It’s hard not to laugh reading these comments. “Evil corporations” “Soylent Corp” etc. Do you hippies have to find a conspiracy in everything? It’s surprising you guys don’t love Glenn Beck, because he’s just like you. Why do you look to the government to solve your problems?. If you don’t like the labeling on a product, then don’t buy it. There are plenty of alternatives that explicitly state they don’t use GMO ingredients. If it was so important, then people would buy those and the market would deliver more of them. For every corrupt corporate individual you can name, I can name 5 politicians even more corrupt. Government isn’t the solution to any problem. You can keep your flavorless “organic” apples….I’ll take the nice juicy, superior, genetically modified one beside it that tastes twice as good and costs half as much. (Just for fun, watch Penn and Tellers show where they had Whole Food customers taste test organic vs non-organic and 80% of people who claimed organic is better chose the non-organic one as the best tasting.) I applaud the person who said they will never drink a Coke product. That’s the solution…not the government. Vote with your dollars because the government isn’t looking out for your best interests and they are not the solution.

Anita

September 14th, 2012
1:06 pm

I stopped drinking and eating all of this mess a long time ago. This is one of the reasons for the high rate of obesity in our country. If we don’t demand better we will get less. Coca-Cola should be ashame of themselves. Just a bunch of individuals making money off of consumers at all cost. They can care less about us. One of the reasons I turned down a job offer with that company.

kimmer

September 14th, 2012
1:09 pm

Guess what people. We have been eating genetically modified foods for the last several hundred years. Plants and animals genetically modified through selection and cross breeding until it scarcely resembles its original ancestors.

One reason this effort is opposed is evidenced by many of the comments here. The words ‘genetically-modified’ have been successfully demonized by fear mongering advocacy groups who possess very little if any real data to back their chicken little claims. Similar to how the word ‘nuclear’ was similarly demonized back in the day.

Mike

September 14th, 2012
1:11 pm

So basically everything will have a label? Because the corn Monsanto makes is used everything from Coke & Pepsi to Goodyear & Firestone tires. Also don’t forget about hand sanitizer, drywall, spark plugs, Febreze… I could keep going but I’d break the Internet.

KC

September 14th, 2012
1:12 pm

I hate that money can influence any decision, especially a decision that we can’t directly make ourselves, but that we elect people to make for us. Unfortunately, I’ll also bet many of these elected officials have coke stock, and that can cloud their thinking about what’s best (knowledge of the ingredients) for citizens. I hope everyone who commented who is just as disgusted as I am about this will contact their representative and let them know that more information doesn’t kill the product, it just leads to a more thoughtful, educated decision (and consumer).

KC

September 14th, 2012
1:13 pm

Here’s a news flash: everything we consume is genetically alterred, including corn, and was done so before Europeans even came to North America. Unless you’re picking berries out in a forest somewhere, you’re eating genetically alterred food.

Chuck ClausenChuck

September 14th, 2012
1:13 pm

It looks to me like the current laws/regulations are doing a fine job of protecting the food supply – somebody has too much time on their hands.

KC

September 14th, 2012
1:15 pm

Ironically, there’s another KC posting above me with a different opinion than mine on this. I just want to clarify that. I swear that’s just weird irony.

Cujo Bendi

September 14th, 2012
1:18 pm

Chuck Clausen must live in Gwinnett or Cobb. Maybe Cherokee…

say what?

September 14th, 2012
1:20 pm

Coca Cola has an opinion? The same Coca Cola that makes caramel color from a process involving ammonia, but does not want consumers to know which products are using the process? This is one of “Atlanta’s own” that needs to be challenged. But, CoKe U, I mean Emory, would lose lots of money if anything happens to Coke’s profits.

two cents

September 14th, 2012
1:23 pm

Look up Senate bill s510. They have tried several times to make it illegal for you to grow fruits and vegetables in your back yard for a couple years now so that you will have to comply and eat the Monsanto products. There is definitely a shortage in food supply due to our change in climate and our continued growth of population so eventually we will have the bitter choice of GMO’s or soylent green.

ND

September 14th, 2012
1:30 pm

If there was nothing wrong with GM foods, they wouldn’t be fighting the labeling requirement. Talking about “added costs” is complete BS. How much does it add to the cost for them to type one more line on the label saying that the food is GM?

CorrinaWashington

September 14th, 2012
1:34 pm

Wait a minute peeps. where is the data to suggest GMO crops are less or more safe than non-GMO crops. Wheat for instance has been genetically modified since the 1950s. This is nothing new. Sorry but I am not one that subscribes to knee-jerk reactions. My skepticism began the minute I read this labeling initiative is coming out of CA. Land of fruits and nuts.

Iconoclast

September 14th, 2012
2:02 pm

Whatever Coke’s reasoning, giants like Candler and Woodruff would be lopping-off the heads of anyone within the company that disrespects the brand with an anti-consumer campaign such as this. This is definitely not the founders’ Coca Cola.

Peter

September 14th, 2012
2:06 pm

I buy Coke to clean my battery terminals……… any one who drinks that stuff is nuts !

Peter

September 14th, 2012
2:07 pm

Chuck ClausenChuck .. You mean like the peanut butter factory in GA ?

Gotta love those rat droppings………makes a yummy taste for Republican Children !

Anti Coke fan

September 14th, 2012
2:15 pm

take that nasty corn syrup out of their drinks

Anti Coke fan

September 14th, 2012
2:20 pm

some may not care what is in the food but i do and i think it is important to know what you are really buying .

Glass House Rocker

September 14th, 2012
2:21 pm

Reminds me of the movies: “Soylent Green”, “Roller Ball” and–most recently–”The Hunger Games”. Corporations are running Government.
Ike was right!

Ralph Christian

September 14th, 2012
2:24 pm

BOYCOTT COCA COLA AND ALL PRODUCTS ASSOCIATED WITH THIS IRRESPONSIBLE AND GREEDY ENTERPRISE!

Ker mitt

September 14th, 2012
2:27 pm

Isn’t all food genetically modified anyway?

Ker mitt

September 14th, 2012
2:28 pm

Is coca-cola Vegan?

Ralph Christian

September 14th, 2012
2:29 pm

Corrina, open your eyes and ears (the brain too)! This is about knowing WHAT we are consuming. Get it???? Once again, proof that Europe is way ahead of us in this respect.

CorrinaWashington

September 14th, 2012
2:29 pm

Dear ND. I am in the business of food supplements and dietary supplements and I run my company’s regulatory dept. Label changes ARE VERY costly. Depending on the changes a simple change can take up to 6M or longer. It’s not a matter of “just adding a line” to the label. Next time don’t let your ignorance of a subject stop you from commenting.

CorrinaWashington

September 14th, 2012
2:36 pm

Ralph Chris….just b/c EU is labeling doesn’t mean they know what is in the GMO or non-GMO raw material. Why do you think big pharma sets up shop in Ireland? Because the regulations make it easy to start up for production and sales of pharmaceuticals in the EU.