It’s Only A Label!

In one of my recent posts, It’s Your Right To Know, I talked about the importance of knowing about the ingredients in the food we eat, especially if one has an allergic reaction to a certain chemical.  I am not alone in my wish to make educated choices about the foods I eat.  Now, at the close of Election Day 2014, as I read the results of GMO labeling initiatives in Colorado, Hawaii and Oregon my mother’s oft-used phrase comes to mind…”they must have more money than brains”.

Apparently the Board members of companies like Monsanto, Dow AgroSciences, PepsiCo, Coca Cola, Bayer, Kraft, Dupont and several others don’t have any brains!  These companies, either individually or through the Grocers Manufacturers Association (GMA), spent over $20 million in Oregon,  $27+ million in Colorado and $8+ million in Hawaii to defeat the proposed legislature!  The opponents’ campaign funds made history in each of these 3 states as their most expensive campaigns of all time!

In Colorado Proposition 105 was defeated but it certainly showed support for GMO labeling was strong.  Oregon’s results are apparently too close to call which shows an overwhelming support for labeling.  In Maui, Hawaii, where the least amount of money (over $8 million) was contributed by the opposition, the ballot initiative to temporarily BAN genetically engineered crops won!  I have to applaud Hawaii for the first-ever attempt to ban growing GMO crops!

Countries where US companies already label GMOs. Map courtesy of the Center for Food Safety

That’s right…all the money spent in Colorado and Oregon was to defeat labeling GMOs and that was just a label!  As you can see on the map above there are many countries (64) where US companies are already labeling their GMO ingredients. Can you imagine the money that will be spent in the future when states have campaigns to ban growing GMO crops?  I feel certain we will be hearing more about new lawsuits against Maui and Oregon (if the initiative wins) along with the lawsuit in Vermont.  Hmmm…I wonder when all these numbers will be reflected in each of these companies’ earnings or maybe they are being diluted over a longer period.

My brain (and my wallet) would tell me to sell stock in any of these companies since it doesn’t seem they intend to lessen their assault on GMO labeling which means more spending to defeat initiatives, especially as this movement grows. Oh, but that would be if I owned any stock in any of these companies.  As a former stockbroker myself I usually kept a diversified stock portfolio of companies that performed well not paying much attention to their impact on humans or health.  Many years ago, after leaving the business and becoming more aware of health issues, I realized I could no longer support those companies responsible for the deteriorating health (and death) of our population and sold those stocks.  I’m not the only one and that awareness is growing along with the GMO labeling initiatives.

Others who feel strongly about labeling are also boycotting products made by these companies.  In a counter measure these large corporations are buying companies that have had reputations for “natural” products, Burt’s Bees and Kashi for example, were bought by Clorox and Kellogg.  While these companies were known for their natural ingredients, some Kashi products now incorporate genetically engineered crops in the ingredients. Luckily, with today’s technology, word spreads quickly so those products are boycotted as well.  One of the best resources for determining whether there are GMOs in a product (since labeling is not required) is the Environmental Working Groups’ (EWG) consumer guides.