Press Release

Prop 37's First TV Ad: No on 37 Run by Same Companies that Told us DDT and Agent Orange were Safe

For Immediate Release: Monday August 27, 2012
Contact: Stacy Malkan, 510-542-9224;

The Yes on Proposition 37 California Right to Know Campaign launched an early media blitz today directly challenging the record of deceit of the big corporations that are now working to deny Californians the right to know what’s in their food. 

Proposition 37, which will be on the California ballot in November, would be the first law in the U.S. requiring labeling of genetically engineered foods. 

View the 30-second ad here. The ad presents the history of notoriously inaccurate corporate health claims, including falsehoods from some of the very same corporations now funding the No on 37 campaign.


“The same corporations that brought us DDT and Agent Orange are now bringing us the No on 37 campaign,” said California Right to Know Media Director Stacy Malkan. 

“In addition to their history of false health claims about DDT, Agent Orange and tobacco, the same corporations and political operatives are making false claims about the safety of genetically engineered food -- even though numerous studies link these foods to allergies and other health risks, as well as to significant environmental problems,” Malkan said.

“Californians have a right to know whether or not their baby formula, corn chips or soy milk was produced using genetically engineering, which has not been proven safe,” Malkan said.

Yes on Prop 37: Background for “False Corporate Health Claims” TV Ad 

Video Text:

“We’ve heard the false corporate health claims before…. Cigarettes aren’t harmful. DDT is safe. Agent Orange is harmless. Now they say genetically engineered food is safe. If Monsanto and Dow think these foods are safe, why are they fighting our right to know what’s in our food? Vote yes on 37 for the right to know what’s in our food.”

Who is behind the No on 37 campaign? 

Monsanto, the top contributor to No on 37 with $4.2 million in donations, was a primary manufacturer of Agent Orange, as was Dow Chemical, which has contributed $1.2 million to No on 37. Agent Orange was the code name for herbicides used by the U.S. Military during the Vietnam War. U.S. soldiers were told that it was “perfectly safe” and often wore little protective clothing when applying it, as shown in our ad. Agent Orange is now linked with various types of cancer and other diseases.

DuPont, the second largest funder of No on 37 with just over $4 million in contributions, was the first major manufacturer of DDT, which was marketed as “harmless to humans” but has since been linked to breast cancer, diabetes, reproductive disorders and other hazards to human health.

Because of patent restrictions on GMOs, companies like Monsanto are allowed to control and suppress research on genetically engineered foods, as the editorial board of the Scientific American reported. Can these companies be trusted to protect our health?

Tobacco industry operatives are key players in the No on 37 Campaign No on 37 consultants MB Public Affairs worked for Altria (formerly Phillip Morris Companies, Inc.). Donations to No on 37 go to the law firm of Bell, McAndrews and Hiltachk. Charles Bell and Thomas Hiltachk were higher ups in the tobacco industry’s misinformation campaign in the 1980s and 1990s. Hiltachk is the treasurer of the No on Prop 37 campaign, was the architect of efforts to dismantle California’s global warming law, and is author of the union-busting Prop 32 on the November ballot which LA Times columnist Michael Hiltzik described as the “fraud to end all frauds” 

Also see: Meet the Scientific Experts who Claim that GMOs are Safe

Consider the Source: No on 37 is a Campaign of Lies

MYTH: “The World Health Organization, American Medical Association, National Academy of Sciences and other respected medical and health organizations all conclude that genetically engineered foods are safe.” (Henry Miller, Hoover Institute fellow, No on 37 press release issued Friday, August 24, 2012)

TRUTH: None of these organizations has concluded genetically engineered foods are safe. The American Medical Association and World Health Organization/United Nations have said mandatory safety studies should be required -- a standard that the U.S. fails to meet. Numerous peer-reviewed studies in the scientific literature suggest genetic engineering is linked to allergies and other adverse effects. Despite these scientific warnings, the U.S. federal government requires no safety studies for genetically engineered foods, and no long-term human health studies have been conducted. 

National Academy of Sciences report concludes that products of genetic engineering technology “carry the potential for introducing unintended compositional changes that may have adverse effects on human health.”

MYTH: Proposition 37 will raise the cost of groceries by “hundreds of dollars” per year.

TRUTH: Disclosing on labels that food has been produced using genetic engineering will not force food companies to raise the cost of groceries. In a recent study of the economic impact of Proposition 37, Joanna Shepherd Bailey, Ph.D., Professor at Emory University School of Law, concluded: “Consumers will likely see no increases in prices as a result of the relabeling required.” In Europe, GMO labeling "did not result in increased costs, despite the horrifying (double-digit) prediction of some interests," according to David Byrne, former European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection of the European Parliament.

MYTH: Proposition 37 will “ban the sale of thousands of groceries” 

TRUTH: Proposition 37 does not ban genetically engineered foods; it merely requires that they be labeled with the phrase “Partially Produced with Genetic Engineering.” 

MYTH: Proposition 37 will result in “shakedown lawsuits.” 

TRUTH: Proposition 37 will enable consumers to make informed choices about the food we’re eating and feeding our children. The lawsuits argument is a red herring. Food companies accurately label for calories, fat content and other information required by law; likewise they will abide by the requirements of Prop 37. According to a legal analysis by James Cooper, JD, PhD, of George Mason University School of Law, Proposition 37 has been narrowly crafted in a way the provides "greater legal certainty" for businesses than other California consumer disclosure laws. It won't invite frivolous lawsuits. What it will do is help California consumers make informed choices about what they eat.

MYTH: Prop. 37 would prohibit processed foods from being marketed as “natural.”  

TRUTH: Proposition 37 applies only to genetically engineered foods, not other foods. Processed foods such as canned olives could still be marketed as “natural” as long as the food is not genetically engineered. See legal analysis by Joseph Sandler of the law firm Sandler, Reiff, Young and Lamb. 


Paid for by Yes on 37 For Your Right to Know if Your Food Has Been Genetically Engineered. Supported by Consumer Advocates, Makers of Organic Products and California Farmers. Major funding by Health Resources LLC and the Organic Consumers Fund. FPPC ID No. 1342851.




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