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.