Organic Brands Backing the Campaign to Defeat GMO Labeling

Original article by Katherine Paul
Re-posted from Organic Consumers Association, Aug 9, 2012

The next time you take a swig of Odwalla’s Organic Carrot Juice, or munch on a bowl of Orville Redenbacher’s Organic popcorn, take note: A lot of popular organic and all-natural brands are made by companies that are spending thousands of dollars to defeat Proposition 37, the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act. 

Donations are pouring into the campaign to defeat Prop 37. Among the big donors are companies like J.M. Smucker, Hormel Foods, Kellogg Co., Coca-Cola North America and PepsiCo. – companies that make a fortune marketing ‘natural’ and organic brands with slogans like “We’re good to the earth.”

All of these companies are members of the powerful Washington, DC-based Grocery Manufacturer’s Association (GMA), a multi-billion-dollar trade association which represents America’s $1.2 trillion “Big Food” industry. The GMA itself has already pitched in $375,000 to the anti-labeling campaign. And it’s still early in the game.

The GMA has more than 300 dues-paying members,  many of whom are purveyors of popular ‘natural’ and organic brands. These companies have either developed or acquired those brands in order to tap into the growing market for organic and “natural” foods: Annual sales of “natural” food products are estimated at $50 billion, organic at $30 billion.

We assume all GMA members oppose Prop 37, or they wouldn’t approve GMA’s hefty donations to the anti-labeling campaign. Those members include Starbucks, which sells a number of organic coffee brands, and Kraft, maker of Boca Burgers. Safeway, Inc. is also a member of GMA. The supermarket chain pockets annual sales of $400 million from its store-owned  O-Organics brand. You would think a company that markets “Ingredients for Life”   might stand up in favor of no GMO ingredients?

Safeway is an assumption, but when it comes to a long list of other GMA members, no assumptions are necessary. Here’s a list of food companies, all GMA members, and all marketers of “natural” and organic brands, who have directly donated to the campaign against GMO labeling – over and above the $375,000 the GMA has contributed on behalf of all its members.

Pepsi-Co $90,220.06 Tostito’s Organic
Tropicana Organic
Naked Juice
Coca-Cola $61,208.60 Odwalla
Honest Tea
ConAgra $56,598.50 Orville Redenbacher’s Organic
Hunt’s Organic
Alexia Foods
Kellogg’s $33,248.40 Keebler Organic
Kellogg’s Organic
Bear Naked
Morningstar Farms
Wholesome & Hearty
J.M Smucker $20, 395.80 Santa Cruz Organics
Smucker’s Organic Peanut Butter
R.W. Knudsen
Natural Brew
Tenderleaf Tea
Hormel Foods $19,657.70 Natural Choice
General Mills $19,400.28 Cascadian Farm
Muir Glen
Gold Medal Organic
Bimbo Bakeries* $17,783.30 Earth Grains
DelMonte $14,400.28 DelMonte brand organic pickles
DelMonte brand organic canned tomato products
Fruit Naturals
Hershey $8,440.28 Dagoba
Cargill $5424.94 White Wave/Silk
Organic Cow of Vermont
Campbell Soup Co. $5,340.56 V8 Organic
Prego Organic
Swanson’s Organic
Pace Organic
Campbell’s Organic
Bolthouse Farms
McCormick $5,302.10 McCormick Organic Spices

*Bimbo Bakeries also donated an additional $7,340.06 through its Sara Lee subsidiary.