Ad blitz drains support for California GMO-labeling plan
"Yes on 37" supporters, led by the Organic Consumers Association and Joseph Mercola, a natural health information provider, have donated $5.5 million.
"When there's an initiative that's going to affect an industry that can rally resources, they've usually been able to stop it," said Shires. "It still could go either way."
Supporters of the new labeling measures on Thursday accused the "No on 37" group of "pounding Californians with lies and deception", but the group says it is simply underscoring flaws in the labeling proposal.
The "No on 37" group recently had to pull an ad that identified its star, Henry Miller, as a Stanford University doctor rather than as a fellow at the conservative Hoover Institution think tank on the university's campus. The group corrected the affiliation after Stanford complained.
Supporters of the ballot initiative, including food and environmental activists as well as organic growers, say consumers have the right to know what's in the food they eat.
Because foods made with GMOs are not labeled, it is impossible to trace any food allergies or other ill effects suffered by humans or animals, they say.
Drafters of Proposition 37 say they excluded certain foods from the labeling rules to make them simpler and less burdensome for businesses. Exemptions include restaurant food as well as milk and meat from animals that eat GM feed.
California is the top milk-producing state in nation and its restaurant industry has annual sales of about $58 billion. It is not a significant producer of GM crops.
Opponents of the bill have seized on the exclusions. Their ads question why a frozen pizza (sold in a supermarket) would be labeled, while delivery pizza (from a restaurant) would not.
Each side has trotted out its own cost studies, which come to significantly different conclusions.