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Hightower Report: In Battling Corporate Greed, Tenacity Matters

Activism pushes major corporations to support food labeling law

By Jim Hightower, Fri., March 1, 2013

Sometimes, the cost of winning is so great that you really lose.

This little lesson seems to be dawning on several food industry powers. Such huge processors and retailers as ConAgra, PepsiCo, Unilever, and Wal-Mart dumped millions of dollars into last November's monumental labeling battle over California's Proposition 37, which would've required corporations to tell consumers if any of their food products contain ingredients with genetically manipulated DNA. Using piles of political cash, deceptive advertising, and outright lies – the corporate Goliaths squeaked out a narrow victory over a scrappy coalition of consumers, environmentalists, organic producers, and others.

But while Big Money "won" the election, the corporations lost the hearts and minds of their own customers, for they exposed themselves as greedheads going to extremes to deny people's right to know what they're putting into their own bodies – and into their children's bodies. That's not a winning proposition over the long haul, no matter how much political money they throw at it.

Moreover, far from feeling defeated, the pro-labeling coalition was energized by having flushed out of hiding the big brand names that are secretly putting GMO contaminates in our food supply. Having awakened public consciousness, the grassroots coalition has flummoxed the genetic manipulators by not going away. Instead, it has already expanded the political fight for honesty and food purity into Connecticut, Missouri, New Mexico, Vermont, and Washington state.

And now, the strength of the issue and tenacity of the coalition have pushed a couple of dozen major food peddlers – including PepsiCo and Wal-Mart – to begin talking about switching sides and supporting a national labeling law. To keep up and help push, go to www.organicconsumers.org.

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