Documented Deceptions of No on 37 Campaign
For Release: November 2, 2012
Today leading consumer groups revealed a long list of documented deceptions of the No on 37 Campaign, including blatant misrepresentation of the positions of leading science, professional, academic organizations and government agencies as documented below. This pattern of fraud tells the true story about how far the world's largest pesticide and junk food companies are willing to go to keep American consumers from having a choice about genetically engineered foods. Opponents of Prop 37 have been caught red handed:
Making demonstrably false statements in the official California Voter Guide. From page 57: “Respected scientific and medical organizations have concluded that biotech foods are safe, including: National Academy of Sciences, American Council on Science and Health, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, World Health Organization."
False. The only group on that list that has "concluded that biotech foods are safe" is the American Council on Science and Health, which happens to be a notorious front group for the pesticide industry and climate change deniers.
What about the NAS, WHO and Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics?
- "A National Academy of Sciences spokeswoman said the group has not evaluated whether it's safe to eat genetically engineered food," according to Sacramento Bee. The story was later corrected per NAS request to say, "The National Academy of Sciences determined in 2004 that 'no adverse health effects attributed to genetic engineering have been documented in the human population.'" The same NAS report states that the products of genetic engineering technology “carry the potential for introducing unintended compositional changes that may have adverse effects on human health.” Human studies have not been conducted.
- World Health Organization says that ongoing risk assessments are needed and that “GM foods and their safety should be assessed on a case-by-case basis and that it is not possible to make general statements on the safety of all GM foods.”
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics issued a press release alerting voters that their group was misrepresented by the No on 37 campaign in the voter guide. "We are concerned that voters are being misled … Voters need accurate information in order to make an informed choice.” While the Academy's official evidence-based position on GM foods won’t be available until 2013, registered dietitian and Academy spokesperson Jeannie Gazzaniga-Moloo, Ph.D, R.D. says, “The Academy supports consumers right to know what ingredients are in the foods they purchase to feed their families.” She adds, “Those who have specific questions about foods or ingredients should contact food manufacturers directly.”
Fabricating quote from US Food and Drug Administration about Prop 37, attaching FDA's logo and mailing it to voters in possible violation of federal law. FDA confirmed to KPBS on Oct. 19 that they "never made such statements with respect to Prop 37." On Nov. 1, the Right to Know campaign received an inquiry from an FBI agent following up on the mailer, and the matter has been referred to FDA for further inquiry.
Misrepresenting Stanford University in first TV ad -- No on 37 was forced to yank their first TV ad because it identified spokesman Henry Miller as "M.D. Stanford" when he is actually a researcher at the Hoover Institute, as Los Angeles Times reported.
Continuing to misrepresent Stanford in mailers to voters with false title for Henry Miller -- as the Stanford Daily reported.
Fabricating San Francisco Examiner endorsement -- see what the San Francisco Examiner thinks about their logo appearing prominently in a No on 37 campaign ad, since they have actually endorsed Yes on 37.
Repeatedly misleading voters in ads.
- SJ Mercury Ad Fact Check: Cost claims “mostly untrue”
- SacBee Ad Watch: “misleads on labeling costs”
- SacBee Ad Watch: “no independent studies have confirmed (cost) estimates" ... "There is no evidence the measure was inspired or funded by the trial lawyer lobby."
- SJ Mercury Ad Fact Check: Exemptions ad “partially misleading”
Misleading voters with deceptive mailers by obvious front groups:
- Why would the "Coalition for Literacy" oppose GMO labeling? It's not possible to tell from the group's one-page website. But wouldn't you know that the same Coalition for Literacy opposed the anti-tobacco Proposition 27 back in May.
- The Cops Voting Guide opposes Prop 37. According to the About Us page of their website, the director of Cops Voting Guide is Kelley Moran, who has "over 20 years of experience working with public safety." His actual profession is political consultant.
Californians Vote Green opposes Prop 37 and if you want to know why, the only thing you can learn from their website is that you should "please direct inquiries to Paul."
- "LA County Democratic" sent a last-minute slate mailer urging LA voters to vote against Prop 37. The real LA County Democratic Party, which endorses 37, said there's nothing they can do since the fake front group doesn't use the word "Party" in their name.
Using science organizations and professors to spread their deceptive talking points.
- The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) statement opposing GMO labeling repeated the false talking points of the No on 37 campaign and raised the ire of many in the scientific community. See letter by 20 scientists and physicians objecting to AAAS statement. Also see Michele Simon's piece, "Is a Major Science Group Stumping for Monsanto?"
- Kent Bradford is just one of many UC Davis professors parroting the No on 37 talking points and UC Davis gets major funding from Monsanto. See Michele Simon's, “Did Monsanto Write this Op Ed Signed by a UC Davis Professor?”
Elevating anti-science radical Henry Miller as a “top science” source. Miller has fronted for big tobacco and climate change deniers, campaigned to reintroduce DDT, and famously claimed that nuclear reactor leaks could benefit human health.
- No on 37 says don’t trust your mom about Prop 37, trust Henry Miller.
- Overview of Henry Miller’s radical science claims.
- No on 37 campaign invented false title for Miller as "MD, Stanford."
- Read about Henry Miller and the No on 37 campaign of deception in Mother Jones, the Atlantic, and Chico News and Review.
Help us spread the truth about Proposition 37; donate today.
I worry that the first thing that will happen if this somehow passes is that companies will just fail to label, and pay a “Stiff Financial Penalty” which just translates into the costs of running a profit for profits sake business. And then there’s the testing agencies, how do we verify that a company is in fact not using a GMO? And what about real penalties?
Still, even if it was legitimate I think that the Right to Know, natural and organic food industry can take solace in the fact that now A LOT MORE people are now aware of the GMOs issue. I believe that clean, healthy foods will only grow as a result of the Prop 37 campaign.
One last thing that needs to be said, much thanks and appreciation to Stacy Makan and especially to Ronnie Cummins who has fought so long and hard all these years to inform people what the big agrochemical giants are doing to our food and thus to our health. If there is a heaven I’m sure you’ll be there.