No on 37 Radio Ads Littered With Falsehoods
Oakland: The Yes on 37 California Right to Know Campaign has released a fact sheet documenting numerous falsehoods in the No on 37 campaign’s first radio ads, which ran this week.
“When voters hear campaign ads, we urge them to consider the credibility of the source, and check the facts for themselves,” said Gary Ruskin, campaign manager for California Right to Know. “The same chemical companies that lied about the safety of Agent Orange and DDT are now financing the $32 million campaign to keep Californians in the dark about what is in their food. The No on 37 campaign’s first radio ad is a fitting tribute to this legacy because the only shred of truth it contains is in the disclaimer that lists the special interests who paid for it.”
Below are just a few of the false statements in the No on 37 campaign’s first radio ad.
FALSE CLAIM #1: Prop. 37 was written by trial lawyers for trial lawyers
Truth: The California Right to Know campaign began with the efforts of Pamm Larry, a former midwife, farmer and longtime Chico resident. In 2011, Pamm started organizing mothers and volunteers across the state toward a 2012 ballot drive with only one goal in mind — to let California consumers know if the food they are eating contains Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), which a growing body of peer reviewed research links to human health risks and environmental problems. With the help of thousands of volunteers across the state, the Right to Know campaign gathered nearly one million signatures from California voters within a 10 week period. The initiative itself was written by a group of industry, science and health experts.
FALSE CLAIM #2: Prop. 37 is being pushed by special interests
Truth: Nearly one million individuals -- parents, grandparents, businessmen and women, farmers, nurses and everyday Californians – helped to put Prop 37 on the ballot. Thousands of individuals have made contributions (most of them less than $100) to support the Yes on 37 campaign. Prop 37 is endorsed by a broad coalition of more than 2,000 groups including farm, public health, environmental, food safety organizations and local businesses. By contrast, the No on 37 campaign is supported and financed entirely by special interests, most of which are not located in California. More than half the funding for No on 37 is from the six largest pesticide companies.
FALSE CLAIM #3: Prop. 37 bans genetically engineered foods
Truth: Prop. 37 bans nothing. It merely requires labeling of GMO-containing foods with the phrase “partially produced with genetic engineering” or “may be partially produced with genetic engineering” and it gives companies 18 months to change their labels. This type of labeling is already required in 50 countries around the world. The No on 37 campaign’s largest funder, the Monsanto Company, even produced aseries of ads in Europe touting the benefits of GMO labeling and the importance of consumers’ right to know. Yet here in California they are spending more than $7 million to defeat our right to know.
FALSE CLAIM #4: Prop. 37 will result in “shakedown lawsuits”
Truth: There are no “bounty hunter” provisions in Prop 37, and the law provides no economic incentives for filing lawsuits. According to an independent legal analysis by James Cooper, JD, PhD, of George Mason University School of Law, Proposition 37 has been narrowly crafted in a way that provides far 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 more informed choices about the food they eat. The overwhelming majority of food companies already comply with labeling laws for calories, ingredients and other contents, and there is every reason to expect that they will also comply with these simple labeling requirements for genetically engineered ingredients.
FALSE CLAIM #5: Prop. 37 will raise the cost of groceries
Truth: Companies change their labeling all the time, and research shows that Prop. 37 will likely have no cost impact on consumers. In a recent study on the economic impact of Proposition 37, Joanna Shepherd Bailey, Ph.D., Associate Professor at Emory University School of Law, concluded that, “Consumers will likely see no increases in prices” from Prop 37. In Europe, introduction of GMO labeling produced no increase in food costs. David Byrne, former European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection of the European Parliament, stated that when Europe introduced GMO labeling in 1997, “it did not result in increased costs, despite the horrifying (double-digit) prediction of some interests.”