Pro-GMO Propaganda in California Dismantled by New Cost Study

August 14, 2012
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gmo-labeling_1Opponents of GMO labeling say it will raise food costs by hundreds of dollars per family when in fact it will likely cause NO cost increase at all!

The California Right to Know 2012 Ballot Initiative, which will be voted upon in November, will tell Californians—and ultimately perhaps other Americans—whether their food contains genetically engineered ingredients. Not surprisingly, the biotech companies are up in arms over the proposal. Their website is NoProp37.com, funding for which comes in part from the Council for Biotechnology Information, whose members include Monsanto, Dow, and other GMO companies. The site, which used to be called StopCostlyFoodLabeling.com (they just recently changed the domain name—could it be because they realized it wasn’t costly after all?) says:

[Labeling genetically engineered foods] would increase food costs paid by California consumers. The higher costs that farmers, food companies and grocers would face because of this proposition would be passed on to California consumers through higher food prices. That would hurt all California families—especially those who can least afford it, such as seniors on fixed incomes and low income families. An economic analysis of a similar measure that was rejected by Oregon voters found that the type of labeling regulations in the California proposition could cost an average family hundreds of dollars per year in higher food costs.

Note that they analyzed a rejected Oregon proposal, not the proposal on which Californians will be voting in November! But Joanna Shepherd-Bailey, PhD, has analyzed the one in California.

She’s the renowned tenured law professor from Emory who has testified before the US House of Representatives Judiciary Committee and before the Committee on Law and Justice of the National Academy of Sciences. Her analysis reveals—in direct contradiction to the propaganda being put forth by the biotech companies—that GMO labeling will likely cause no increase in consumer costs at all!

In fact, her report refutes the two key fear-mongering arguments being put forth by opponents of GMO labeling.

Kathy Fairbanks, the spokeswoman for the Coalition against the Costly Food Labeling Proposition, claims that GMO labeling will increase the cost of food by hundreds of dollars per California family because food producers and grocery store owner will have to re-label food and put up placards. But Shepherd-Bailey found that the one-time average per-product cost to manufacturers of redesigning all food labels is $1,104, which represents only 0.03% of annual per product sales, and that the one-time average per-store cost of placards disclosing genetic engineering will be $2,820, or about 0.1% of the annual sales in the average supermarket.

Because the increase in cost-per-item of goods is so small, it is most likely that this increase will not be passed on to the consumer at all. According to extensive survey research, a primary reason firms don’t change prices in response to many cost changes is because of the fear of losing customers. Even if relabeling expenses were substantial enough to justify the cost of re-pricing, many suppliers will simply refrain from changing prices from fear of losing customers to other products that have not increased prices.

Besides, manufacturers change their labeling all the time—anytime their product is “new and improved” or they change a logo or a box design—and those costs are not passed on to the consumer. When the government required nutritional information to be posted on each container, prices didn’t go up because of it. It would actually cost companies more internally to raise prices than for them to simply absorb the costs. And with an eighteen-month lead time, it may not cost many companies anything at all.

In a worst-case scenario, even if all of these costs were passed on to consumers, this translates to a mere $1.27 one-time increase in the total annual food expenditure for the average household in California. And this is an overestimate, since not all products will require GE labeling.

In other words, these specious allegations about rising food costs is just the latest attack from the anti-labeling camp—those who don’t want you to know what you’re eating. Several weeks ago we told you about their specious charge that Label GMO will become a Prop 65 type “right to sue” law—that it would “create…frivolous and costly lawsuits” and would lead to abusive “bounty hunter”–style lawsuits that allow plaintiffs to keep a “bounty” of 25% of civil penalties collected—when in fact the initiative does not include the controversial bounty fees found in other California laws, and their entire campaign is based on disinformation. They are entitled to their own opinions, of course—just not their own facts.

Since the law would be enforced through litigation, opponents also claim that GMO labeling will impose high costs on the state of California as a result of an increase in litigation. Shepherd-Bailey shows that this is also false. She estimates that the cost to the state will be negligible: the annual costs for processing and hearing cases should be less than $50,000. And while there will be administrative costs to the state as its Department of Health begins to implement certain provisions of the law, her analysis found that these administrative costs will be less than $1 million—that is, less than 1 cent for each person living in the state of California—causing the department’s expenditures to increase by no more than 0.03% and total state expenditures to increase by just 0.0008%. That one cent is all it will cost for critical health information to be made available to the many consumers who want to know what is in the food they feed their families.

If you are a California resident, please consider being part of the campaign to educate your fellow Californians and get them to vote on November 6! Over 90% of Californians want their foods labeled—but it will never happen if citizens don’t understand the issues and get to the polls. Volunteer. Donate. Join a local group. And get the word out!

Being able to see which foods contain genetically engineered ingredients is particularly important when you see how dangerous GE crops can be. Monsanto’s “Roundup Ready” crops have been genetically engineered to permit direct application of the Monsanto herbicide Roundup (glyphosate), allowing farmers to drench both their crops and crop land with the herbicide so as to be able to kill nearby weeds—and any other green thing the herbicide touches—without killing the crops.

According to a recent animal study published in the journal Toxicology in Vitro, glyphosate, which is frequently present residually in GMO foods, can affect men’s testosterone and sperm counts. It is toxic to testicle cells, can even kill them, and significantly lowers testosterone synthesis. As Jonathan V. Wright, MD, in the July 2012 issue of his Nutrition & Healing newsletter, points out, synthetic herbicides and pesticides are essentially “environmental estrogens” in humans, as these molecules mimic estrogen activity. GMO agriculture has exacerbated this situation.

There are many, many more health issues with GMO foods, as you can read about in our earlier articles.

44 Responses to “Pro-GMO Propaganda in California Dismantled by New Cost Study”

  1. EJ says:

    “If you put a label on genetically engineered food you might as well put a skull and crossbones on it” –Norman Braksick, President of Asgrow Seed Co., a subsidiary of Monsanto, quoted in the Kansas City Star, March 7, 1994.

       1 likes

  2. ruth-ann says:

    It’s not just a debate over whether a certain food contains a GMO, but ‘what’ it contains or how has it been genetically modified or engineered. I belong to food co-op which has labels on many of the food products now saying whether or not it has been genetically modified. The labels also contain such statements as: ‘only 70% organic.’ This is a big bonus, in my opinion, because it allows me to say “NO” (or “YES”) to that product if I don’t (or do) want to eat something that is only 70% organic, which certainly seems like an oxymoron, but again, the consumer now has a better option. Anytime, anything changes in the food chain, the corporations see this an incentive to increase the price so that argument doesn’t hold water although the huge number of choices for consumers, and the thought of customer-base depreciation, are incentatives to keep the cost down.

    Many organically-labeled products are actually owned by large corporations hoping to cash in on the ‘organic’ and/or ‘natural’ revolution. For example, Kashi is owned by Kellog. Now, why wouldn’t they want they products’ labels to say non-GMO unless they aren’t?

    There are other ways to solve the problem on an individual basis if one is so inclined. There are local food co-ops, food-buying clubs, local farmers’ markets, just to name a few. Plus, there is always the home garden, which if done correctly, can feed a family of 4 all year round in a 100 square feet, but it takes a little energy to make it work.

       9 likes

  3. Dee says:

    Yes, I think everybody that works at Monsanto/Dow/ConAgra, and all the political leaders should
    SHOW all of us 99% how great their foods are, and eat it themselves. Leaders should go first and
    eat the GMO’s and take all BIG PHARMA’s drugs.

    How much would it cost to put a skull/crossbones on all GMO foods?? Ummmm…Monsanto uses it on their Roundup label. What’s the difference? The ingredients look like a chemistry lab!!

    It’s really sad that both Obama/Romney campaigns are being funded by Monsanto/Dow etc since Corporations are PEOPLE.

    Both Kagen and Thomas on the Supreme Court were counsel for Monsanto–I betcha they don’t
    eat GMO’s.

    Wake up people, and let’s get this labeling nationwide.

       5 likes

    • Linda says:

      I totally agree. Well said. Let them eat that crap. I always tell people that they should remember Michelle Obama creating an organic garden as soon as she entered the White House. That should have been a wakeup call for America. But politics and petty issues all are designed to take our focus away from the food issue. Even if you don’t have outdoor space people should start indoor gardening. Anything to provide yourself with healthy herbs and veggies. I don’t trust the gov’t. to adequately monitor my food supply. We have to help ourselves.

         2 likes

  4. The real reason the GMO makers argue against labeling is that people are naturally afraid of GMO products, and signed placed in front of them will alert customers who are concerned, resulting in lost sales.

       2 likes

  5. R Matty says:

    this is not going to happen here in California, it’s already on the ballot and people here are voting YES on Proposition 37 to label GMO foods.

       6 likes

    • Rev. Allorrah Be says:

      Many places here in California are really “up in arms” about Monsanto and what HE is
      doing to people and the property all around the world. If I did the same thing, I would be
      arrested and tried for attempted murder, at the very least!

      We don’t need no stinkin’ GMO Frankenfoods!

      Thank you!

         2 likes

  6. I believe the whole country should get on this bandwagon. this concerns the whole world
    as well as the 50 states. These pesticides should be banned from this day forward.
    We have no idea what this has done to our health and our children and the unborn.
    There are all kinds of problems araising we have no idea where they come from.
    Lets kill this now before its too late.
    thank you,
    HAROLD BEAVAN

       7 likes

  7. Hans Fitzsimmons says:

    If Monsanto thinks it has no negative impact on humans, then they should all drink a glass of round-up and put their money where their mouth is…

       7 likes

  8. julie hinson says:

    We want our food labeled if it is genetically modified. The propaganda not to label from Dow and Monsanto is a farce (as usual) These people will do anything not to get foods labeled, what are they afraid of? Educating the public and giving us freedom to choose is what America is all about, it’s called Democracy. WE WANT FRANKEN FOOD LABELED NOW!

       6 likes

  9. Colleen says:

    What are they so afraid of, if everything is healthy whats the big deal labeling it???

       6 likes

  10. Jina says:

    They call out poverty and I’m calling out major B.S. on them!
    I work in the pricing dept. of a national grocery store chain
    (8 yrs. now) we change price tags anytime there’s an ingredient change as it may
    change the unit price even if not the main price.
    Right now I can only think of Hershey’s changing out cocoa butter for PGPR. Clearly Hershey’s didn’t go out of business. Also, how many times have you gone to the store looking for a fave item
    only to pass it by because the pkg color and typeface had changed. You can’t tell me 3 letters are going cause a huge budget issue. (GMO is one letter less than PGPR, just sayin)

       5 likes

  11. Harry Lectora says:

    Please note and look into the reduced health costs that would be derived when people who are allergic and or physiologically challenged can ,now have better health. Less sick days for example would actually have secondary economic improvements in productivity, less healthcare costs etc.

       5 likes

    • IHateGMO says:

      Your comment makes all the sense in the world, but that would be counterproductive to what they want. Don’t they want everyone sick from the food they eat so BIG PHARMA can then make a death concoction to “treat” your supposed illness. And then when that drug causes side effects, they can prescribe you another drug and so on… All the while making billions of dollars in profit from murder.

         0 likes

  12. Jo says:

    What I don’t get is why would these companies not want their GMO products labeled? If it is harmless, then they should be proud to tell everyone that the products contain GMO ingredients. But, instead, they fight it. Why? Because they know that the harm that these products cause to our health, which feeds the medical industry with fertility treatments, illness, etc. I noticed that new products are appearing everyday that add organisms to your stomach to help replace the enzymes that are killed by GMOs. I would wager that the inbalance in the enzymes in your stomach are causing some people to go crazy. In fact, I just read an article that says that Syngenta has been fined for covering up animal deaths that were caused from eating the Bt corn!
    Then you add super weeds that are so strong that farmers have to use special kevlar tires just to mow the weeds because the weed stumps are so sharp that they puncture regular tractor tires. Plus, with the super round worms that are so resistant to pesticides that farmers now have to spray their crops 10 to 20 times per growing season instead of the original application rate of 2 or three applications per growing season just to kill the roundworms and you have a frankenstein monster that will run small farms out of business because they will not be able to afford the extra pesticide prices, which ARE passed on to consumers. Non-sustainable agricultural practices caused the dust bowl of the 1930, producing huge dust clouds that, once, actually reached as far as Washington, DC. Unfortunately, that lesson was not learned from history and now, we are suffering the very same thing, with huge dust clouds in the mid-west and water wars pitting small farmers and civilians against the huge commercial agricultural companies that demand that the water be allowed to go downstream to their facilities. In some states it is illegal to collect your own rain water for this very reason. Buy organic whenever possible and stop eating any corn, which includes High fructose corn syrup, and you will be amazed at how much better you will feel! ;-)

       6 likes

  13. NoMonsanto says:

    This is one of the PR firms working on deceiving the People of California:

    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Bell%2C_McAndrews_%26_Hiltachk%2C_LLP

    Here is their address to the best of my knowledge:

    455 Capitol Mall, Sacramento, CA 95814-4402

       2 likes

  14. NoMonsanto says:

    How I wish lawsuits (and laws) against the dissemination of false information and false advertising would be enacted–or enforced.

    To my mind, those drafting and supporting demonstrably false Pro-GMO Propaganda should be presented with appropriate lawsuits. “Dream on!,” you say?

    Let’s keep all options on the table.

       2 likes

  15. hector mendez says:

    We have the right to know.

       1 likes

  16. Rex Kittle says:

    All lies, everything these companies are telling the people in California are all lies. This has nothing to do with cost, they want people to vote no so they don’t have to buy on the open market NON-GMO foods to replace the GMO’s in their products. Once people know which companies are against labeling, the people will stop buying their products. They are scare this will happen, instead of letting it happen they would rather spend millions to stop it. People can be so stupid!

       1 likes

  17. Betty Reiber says:

    In the United States of America, the citizens have every right to know what is in the food they purchase and how the food is grown or processed, especially when that affects the nutritional content of the food. I have had cancer twice and choose to be aware of everything that I put into my body in order to avoid another recurrence of cancer. I always read food labels and expect them to accurately reflect the contents, so that I can make a judgment as to what foods best fit into my food and health plan. We are the richest country in the world, but for all of our wealth we do not have the best nutritional food in the world. We can work together to change that situation. Thank you.

       1 likes

  18. Betty Reiber says:

    In the United States of America, the citizens have every right to know what is in the food they purchase and how the food is grown or processed, especially when that affects the nutritional content of the food. I have had cancer twice and choose to be aware of everything that I put into my body in order to avoid another recurrence of cancer. I always read food labels and expect them to accurately reflect the contents, so that I can make a judgment as to what foods best fit into my food plan. We are the richest country in the world, but for all of our wealth we do not have the best nutritional food in the world. We can work together to change that situation.

       0 likes

  19. Dave says:

    How about putting warning labels on GMO’s like cigerette makers are forced to do?

    GMO’s cause morgellons GMOD disease.
    GMO’s are toxic and may cause allergies.
    GMO’s are not proven safe for human consumption.

       2 likes

  20. Bryan says:

    perhaps we need to expose the names of those putting out the lies from the people who wash the floors were they work on up the ladder. If they get their names published as well perhaps they think better about working there and pass on the grief.

    Something like thedarksideliveshere.com

    or evilcabaldirectory.com

    Maybe we can start a touring company like they do out in California were people pay to look at were the stars live. But instead of stars they drive you buy the homes of the evil ones so we can instill some fear in them for a change. Random acts of “hi there, just thought we’d come by and say hi so you know we know were you live” can tend to run people out of town and make them question their career path

    When they start to realize we all know were they live they will stop the BS.

       0 likes

  21. Hazel Burns says:

    Even if GMO labelling did increase costs, it would only be non-GMO foods that would require labelling and those of us who chose to pay the increased cost would be free to choose. People who are unconcerned about consuming GMO foods would be unaffected.

    It’s about freedom of choice!!!!!

       0 likes

  22. Helen says:

    The argument for cost increase to label GMO food and ingredients is a ruse, I believe, as GMO labeling is already done by the US for exportation, here is the link: http://www.gmo-compass.org/eng/regulation/labelling/96.labelling_gm_foods_frequently_asked_questions.html

       0 likes

  23. Joseph C. Moore (USN Ret.) says:

    What the GMO produce will raise the cost of, is care/treatment for the illnesses produced by eating hormone and pesticide laden crops, but Monsanto, Dow and others don’t give a damn about the health of the consumer. These criminal companies are concerned ONLY about how to increase their profits by producing propriatory seeds and crops that will guarantee profit. Farmers in India using the GMO seeds that drought prevented from germinating have been financially devastated to the point of SUICIDE (they could not afford to buy more seed to replant). The crops that do grow, produce non viable seeds for the next year’s crop, necessitating continually buying from these criminal mega companies. The crops produced by the GMO seed contaminate organic croplands continuing the cycle of poisoning the food supply.

       2 likes

  24. Marygrace says:

    Thanks for a great article of information.

       0 likes

  25. gary leigh says:

    you need to join with other organizations like yours to create an alliance then contact all state reps though a e-mail campaign to get the facts before the public. this is about food safety the public has a right to know and this issue on cost to do this needs to be put on public display. what are the real facts. too much is decided behind our backs in closed door sessions.

       0 likes

  26. What cost are the EXTERNALS.
    Like compromised health.
    Health care costs?
    Sterility?
    Is this the new EUGENICS?
    Is this another Bill Gates backed venture into population control?

       0 likes

  27. Maurice Hladik says:

    Guys, do not destroy whatever argument you have with a misunderstanding of science!! The following is a direct quote in the last paragraph from the study you encouraged readers to check.

    “The pesticide has thus an endocrine impact at very low environmental doses, but only a high contamination appears to provoke an acute rat testicular toxicity.”

    Yes high doses of glyphosphate matter – like hours and hours of direct exposure. Eating GMO corn flakes will not make a guy’s balls drop off!! Furthermore, Roundup and other glyphosphate chemicals are widely used in such non GMO crops as wheat to control perennial and other weeds. Totally an empty argument.

    Advice on packaging of this nature is to so confusing to the average consumer. 90% of foods will need to be labeled GMO and the remaning ten per cent will be very expensive for the averge
    consumer as manufacturers will need to be incredibly diligent to be totally GMO free. This just puts everyone excpt the prosperous elites on a huge guilt trip for no good reason.

    400 million Americans, Mexicans, and Canadians have been consuming GMO foods for nearly a generation and yet life expexrtanxy is increasing and according to the Atlanta Center of Disease Control the two alleged bellweathers of population threat from GMOs, namely cancer and birth defects, have barely budged in the past many years.

    Everyone is entitled to their own opinions but not their own facts.

       0 likes

    • Heather says:

      Sorry to burst your bubble, but new studies are showing the opposite, at least for women: http://www.healthmetricsandevaluation.org//news-events/news-release/life-expectancy-most-us-counties-falls-behind-worlds-healthiest-nations

      Try not to be so accepting and dismissive of these dangerous chemicals and genetically engineered foods as if they are something we should all get used to. Look again, and what you may notice are large corporations vying for control of the food system with ecologically and physically catastrophic effects.

      In any case, as a United States citizen, your right to know EXACTLY what is in the food you buy has been stripped from you. This is the ultimate issue. If they get their way, what else will they try to hide from you? We have the right to decide what to buy and what to eat. Any company that attempts to take that right away, should be questioned and certainly not trusted EVER again. This attitude to just get over it and just get used to it is contemptible. Go do your research on the farmers in India and get back to me.

         0 likes

  28. Carol Linde says:

    No GMO ! That stuff will poison us and make us sick. Wake up people! Yes, lablel at least so we know what not to buy for our families.

    We have a right to know. I ask every time I go to the produce dept. and if they cannot assure me it is not GMO I refuse to buy it. I will not take the chance on ruining my health or the health of my family.

    There has been ample evidence done to support the harmful effect of GMO products and yet our government refuses to look at it. Our government is not interested in keeping us healthy.

       0 likes

  29. Robert Cruder says:

    The cost issue is a red herring.

    The cost would not matter at all if GMO products were shown to be harmful.

    Indeed, if any proof were offered, the FDA and USDA would be obligated to suspend distribution of said products pending investigation.

    Absent any proof, the labeling requirement is merely harassment of honest businessmen who are obeying current law. Without proof, the labeling requirement is unjust even if it entails no cost at all.

    How about turning the tables on the “organic” fanatics and demand labeling of all products that were fertilized using with mass quantities of coliform bacteria.

    Direct experience with “guilty until proven innocent” might change some attitudes.

       0 likes

    • Heather says:

      Perhaps you might benefit from doing some research on both sides of this argument. There are negative studies that are coming out more and more. It often takes years to build the evidence but it is there.

      Your statements are slightly contrary. On one hand you say that labeling is a red herring, on the other, you say there is no proof that they are harmful. Why would any HONEST business put forth a lie just because they are “honest” business people following the law? The entire argument becomes rather suspect.

      The question is, why are these companies spending millions of dollars to stop labeling of genetically modified foods? Because it will cost more for labels? When you are pointing out that this is not even the true reason? The “honest” company is no longer honest. Or were they ever in the first place?

      The “honest” company would label their foods with exactly what is in them. If these GMO foods are truly harmless, what’s the harm in labeling them for what they are: Genetically modified by man.

         0 likes

  30. Kathy Fairbanks, the spokeswoman for the Coalition against the Costly Food Labeling Proposition, claims that GMO labeling will increase the cost of food by hundreds of dollars per California family because food producers and grocery store owner will have to re-label food and put up placards. But Shepherd-Bailey found that the one-time average per-product cost to manufacturers of redesigning all food labels is $1,104, which represents only 0.03% of annual per product sales, and that the one-time average per-store cost of placards disclosing genetic engineering will be $2,820, or about 0.1% of the annual sales in the average supermarket.Because the increase in cost-per-item of goods is so small, it is most likely that this increase will not be passed on to the consumer at all. According to extensive survey research, a primary reason firms don’t change prices in response to many cost changes is because of the fear of losing customers. Even if relabeling expenses were substantial enough to justify the cost of re-pricing, many suppliers will simply refrain from changing prices from fear of losing customers to other products that have not increased prices.

       0 likes

  31. So no one should be surprised, Monsanto and company have lied from the very beginning. This food will solve the food shortage problem, insect resistant, drought resistant, etc. All lies.

       0 likes

  32. Buck Crosby says:

    Apparently , the so called ” expense ” of labeling would be too much to save the health and lives of thousands if not millions of American human beings . We now know what we are all worth to the corporate world .

       0 likes

  33. Mary Saunders says:

    “New” is a word on labels that has been researched as effective in getting consumer attention.

    As I recall, “clearance” also had some cachet. Maybe a geeky examination of catchy label-terms by a few glib opinionistas would make the point that almost everything is already labeled.

    Ubiquitous labeling is an annoyance with small fruits and veggies. No shopper will deny this. It’s unhandy for those of us who compost and those of us who do not wish to ingest plastic.

       0 likes

  34. B. Talbert says:

    I think the human body has had about all it can stand in endocrine disruptors. RGBST in milk, pesticides inserted into the genes of food, and now more and more serious components of agent orange. And all this gets into the soil and the water. The FDA and USDA need to be investigated and eliminated ASAP.

       0 likes

  35. If GMO foods were as good for people and agriculture as industry claims, you would think that industry would want to have GMO foods identified. Doesn’t that tell the whole story?

       0 likes

  36. JohnC says:

    Here’s a thought, why not get rid of the two languages on all of our product labels and print in only English and then through that savings we can add the GMO information and pay for administrative costs. Problem solved.

       0 likes

  37. Viola Perry says:

    When have our politicians ever done the right thing. The only thing they will ever do is stuffing their own pockets, they sell out our country, our health, our economy, etc. And we have no choice but to vote for them again and again though both parties are much the same. They are owned by the lobbyists and corporations.

       0 likes

  38. Doni Mae says:

    I believe the Oregon measure requiriing genetically engineered foods to be labeled was defeated by the same propaganda,: that it would increase the cost of food a lot, put out by the same people that are fighting California’s Prop 37.. This is what I remember reading in Jeffrey Smith”s book “Seeds of Deception.” Rejection of that measure did not create a reason to oppose Prop 37; CARight ToKnow.

       0 likes

  39. Ann says:

    What about the savings in health?
    GMO products have been proven to wreak havoc on our health. Should this not only be worthwhile to label GMO products at whatever cost. Better still STOP all genetically modified foods altogether.
    We need more ethical politicians who actually care about the health of its citizens.

       0 likes

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