ngin - Norfolk Genetic Information Network

3 October 2002


The anti-labelling campaign finance report (item 2) shows 90 % is financed outside of Oregon, over a quarter of the finances are from Monsanto and the whole industry campaign is being run from southern California...

Not content to bully other nations, US biotech is now trying to bully upstart US states!

"While national polls show strong support for labeling genetically altered foods, the biotech war chest creates a formidable challenge."It doesn't matter what your lead is," says political consultant Mark Wiener, "If somebody drops $5 million on it, it flattens out pretty good." (item 1)

The United States of America: the best democracy that money can buy.

1. Flying Their Freakfood Flag High
2. Measure 27 Opposition's campaign finance reports


1. Flying Their Freakfood Flag High

Biotech giant Monsanto could bust the Oregon campaign-spending record in its attempt to cut off Ballot Measure 27 at the roots.

Donna Harris, a Portlander and mother of two, says that two years ago she heard a radio report about genetically altered food. It sparked her clash with the political might of the global biotech industry.

Harris started researching, and what she found led her to submit Measure 27, an initiative on the November ballot that would make Oregon the only state in the nation to require the labeling of genetically altered foods.

Today, the Missouri-based biotech giant Monsanto Company and a Belgium-based industry lobbying group called Croplife International stand poised to pour a reported $6 million into a TV ad blitz to defeat the page-and-a-half-long document Harris wrote. Monsanto licenses 90 percent of the foods that would be covered by the measure.

"If they spend $6 million, that would set a new high," says John Lindback, of the Secretary of State's office.

Harris says she can't understand what the fuss is: "If your technology is so great, then why won't you give me a choice in the supermarket?"

Harris has been widely portrayed in the national media as a mom looking out for her kids. In reality, she is also longtime ballot-measure activist who, with her husband, Parker Bell, represents a progressive version of signature-gathering king Bill Sizemore. (She once worked for Sizemore, helping run his ballot-measure operation).

The measure, which she cribbed from a failed Colorado initiative, would call for the labeling of any product that contains genetically altered material consisting of more than one-tenth of 1 percent of its weight.

Labeling of this sort is already mandatory in 19 countries.

The Grocery Manufacturers of America have lined up with Monsanto in the so-called Coalition Against Costly Labeling Law, hiring top political talent such as Pat McCormick, a lobbyist with Conkling Fiskum & McCormick.

McCormick says his clients fear that consumers might avoid genetically altered food due to unfounded criticisms. But he also says the measure is poorly written and would lead to an increase in food prices.

Craig Winters of the national Campaign to Label Genetically Engineered Foods says Monsanto and friends are afraid. "They know that if they lose Oregon, they will lose the entire country," he says.

Winters is echoed by Doug Gurian-Sherman of the Center for Science in the Public Interest in saying the measure is flawed and would need some legislative repair. But the measure requires that any substantive fix be voter-approved.

The Oregonian has come out against the measure, saying labeling should be a federal, not a state, matter. But the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, published where Monsanto is headquartered, trashed its opposition to the measure, saying "it seems a stretch to believe that labeling would add very much to food costs."

Already, in its campaign report filed Monday, the "no" campaign has raised $4.6 million, of which it has spent $1.8 million. The "yes" side, meanwhile, has raised $84,000 in cash and loans and spent all but $12,000.

While national polls show strong support for labeling genetically altered foods, the biotech war chest creates a formidable challenge."It doesn't matter what your lead is," says political consultant Mark Wiener, "If somebody drops $5 million on it, it flattens out pretty good."


2. Measure 27 Opposition's campaign finance reports

From:           "Jeff Peckman" <>
Date sent:      Thu, 3 Oct 2002 10:52:07 -0500
Subject:      Measure 27 Opposition's campaign finance reports

Following is more complete information about the  money sources for opponents of Measure 27 in Oregon.

 The total contributions submitted by the opposition's C  & E's totalled $4,591,164. Out of this, only $5,500 came  from Oregon! This comes to one-tenth of one percent of  all the money contributed. The OR Food PAC gave  $5000 and the OR Food Issues Council gave $500.  There were no contributions from individuals - almost all corporations, with a few organizations thrown in.

Their campaign is being run by Winner & Mandabach, a  PR firm out of southern California, who contract with  Conkling, Fiskum, McCormick to handle the local  legwork.

 One expenditure showed that Oregonians for Food &  Shelter (OFS) had been paid $110,000 by the  campaign. OFS represents the biotech, timber, and agrochemical industries. The board of directors of OFS  includes officers from Monsanto, Dupont, Syngenta and  Dow Agrosciences.

Pat McCormick (opponent's spokesperson) listed the corporate donations that made up the Crop Life  International donation:

Monsanto            $1,480,000
DuPont                   634,286
Syngenta                528,571
Dow Agro Sciences    396,429
BASF                        158,571
Bayer Crop Science:
Bayer                    105,714
Aventis                  396,429

 Besides prime time TV ads there are lots of highway  signs. As one concerned supporter of Measure 27 said,   "driving through Morrow county on the freeway is like running the gauntlet between Mannix for gov [GOP] & 'no on 27' signs", also, "The mass 'No' mailings are  saturating farm country."

Jeff Peckman
Oregon Measure 27 to Label GE Foods

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