What's Going On with Genetically Modified Organisms in Our Food, And What Can We Do about It? Prop 37
October 26, 2012
Robert B. Lowe is a Pulitzer Prize winning investigative reporter in California. He is on the front lines in the battle over Proposition 37. Here is his report:
You say “tomato.” I say “bigger, stronger, redder, pest-resistant …”
GMO Memo – The ‘No’ Strategy in California
One of my sources sent me a copy of the campaign memo that the No on Prop 37 Committee sent to its chief of staff.
Here’s what it said:
Fact 1 – When asked, more than 90 percent of Americans say they would like to know if the food they eat – such as fruits, vegetables, grains and processed food, is or contains a genetically modified organism (a GMO).
Fact 2 – Some California crazy has gotten Prop 37 on the November ballot that generally requires everyone selling a food with GMOs to state this fact on the label.
Fact 3 – Agribusiness has successfully resisted genetic labeling in the U.S. for two decades while churning out GMOs by the boatload. About 90 percent of all corn and soybeans now have genes altered by scientists, and most processed foods probably have GMOs because of ingredients like high fructose corn syrup.
Fact 4 – Prop 37 could reorder the grocery aisles. Suppose 20% of shoppers are swayed when the “No GMO” stickers suddenly appear. It could be bigger than the organic food movement but take two years instead of 20. On the other hand, people could become blasé when everything seems to have GMOs. Needless to say, this uncertainty has agribusiness extremely nervous.
Fact 5 – We say GMOs are safe. The other side says maybe not. Lots of people, including those cretins at Scientific American, don’t trust us to safeguard the public. Independent research? Who needs it?
So, here is the No on Prop 37 game plan we want you to implement:
Goal 1 – Voters should be swamped with televised ads convincing them that Prop 37 is horrible because it will raise food prices, result in stupid lawsuits, causes earthquakes and will triple the national debt.
Goal 2 – These ads will never ever use the terms “genetic,” “genetic engineering” or “genetic modification.”
Goal 3 – We must condition voters so thoroughly that once they see the number “37” on their ballots, the remaining words will look like random, nonsensical letters except for the word “No.” This is because the first four words on the California ballot after “Proposition 37” are: “GENETICALLY ENGINEERED FOODS. LABELING.” (emphasis not added).
(We are afraid the above words may a) confuse voters since this will be the first time they’ve heard the term “genetic” mentioned in connection with Prop 37 so they may not recognize this is their chance to vote “No” and save the world, or b) make voters think this is something they want which polling suggests.)
In other words, we want voters trained to have a knee-jerk “No” reaction when they hear or see the term “Prop 37” but not actually engage or care enough to know the basic fact that the issue is about labeling genetically engineered food. It’s a fine line but we’re confident you can find it.
Finally, just to make things easier for you, we have arranged for Monsanto to be the single largest contributor to this campaign. The company ranks second only to Apple in consumer confidence and public admiration. Who needs SuperPacs when you can have a clear standard bearer like Monsanto?
Robert B. Lowe is a Pulitzer Prize-winning author. His latest book is Project Moses – A Mystery Thriller is about a global conspiracy involving genetically modified organisms.