Prop 37 Salon Brief


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As an agency, we believe in consumers’ right to information and making industries more truthful and transparent.

To this end, we support Prop 37, which will mandate the labeling of genetically modified foods in California.

Inspired by The Feast Worldwide, we recently hosted a pop-up dinner and salon in Venice for a small gathering of a dozen like-minded marketers and creatives. At the Salon, we came together to discuss the challenge, draw up a plan, and activate a campaign to help accomplish our vision of passing Prop 37 on November 6th.

To find out more about the issue, and find out how you can help pass Prop 37, please visit

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Prop 37 Salon Brief

  1. 1. PROP 37SALON
  2. 2. WELCOMEThank you for choosing to be an agent of positive change.Proposition 37, which mandates the labeling of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) andprohibits the misbranding of products as “natural” in California, is more than a measure onthe ballot this November. It is a referendum on transparency in the food industry. Prop 37highlights the importance of disclosure and shines a light on what it means when industriesresist such disclosure.For us, this conversation is not about the potential health risks of GMOs. It is not aboutwhether the supporters or the opponents of Prop 37 are right. For us, it is an opportunity tohelp inject transparency into the large-scale food industry, a category that is central to oursociety and wellbeing.The movement to mandate transparency in our food is one being aggressively fought bycompanies who prosper from the manufacturing and sale of GMO-based food products. Thecampaign "No to Prop 37," sponsored by companies including Monsanto and PepsiCo isspending more than $34M to persuade voters not to make them disclose their GMO products.Support for Prop 37 "Right to Know" has less than $5M. We are outgunned.As a collection of like-minded individuals who share a vision of passing Prop 37, we thankyou for taking the pledge to use your talents and creativity as a vehicle for change. It isupon us as Californians to make the first step and be an example for the rest of the US.Bringing this conversation to a national level will help accomplish our goal of bringing truthand transparency to the food industry.When consumers have knowledge and information, they have the power to steer the world.Lucas Donat Frank StrieflerOffice: 424.238.8011 Office: 424.238.8044Cell: 310.901.3192 Cell: fstriefler@dw-h.com1
  3. 3. ABOUTPROP 37Proposition 37 mandates thelabeling of foods made fromplants or animals withgenetically modified materials,referred to as geneticallymodified organisms (GMOs), andprohibits the misbranding andmarketing of foods processedwith genetically modifiedingredients as "natural." 2
  4. 4. COUNTRIES WITHEXISTING GMOLABELING LAWS65 COUNTRIES ACROSS THEGLOBE ALREADY ENFORCEGMO LABELING LAWSAustralia Finland Luxemburg SloveniaAustria France Malaysia South AfricaBelgium Germany Mali South KoreaBenin Greece Malta SpainBolivia Greenland Netherlands Sri LankaBosnia Herzegovina New Zealand SwedenBrazil Hungary Norway SwitzerlandBulgaria Iceland Peru ThailandCameroon India Poland TunisiaChina Indonesia Portugal TurkeyCroatia Ireland Romania UKCzech Republic Italy Russia UkraineDenmark Japan Saudi Arabia VietnamEcuador Jordan Senegal ZambiaEl Salvador Kenya SerbiaEstonia Latvia SingaporeEthiopia Lithuania Slovakia3
  6. 6. GMO ARE PERVASIVE IN OUR FOOD SYSTEM Between 60 and 70 percent of the processed foods on the U.S. market contain GMOs. (The Global Healing Center)5
  7. 7. A Sampling of GMO Foods…Corn Zucchini Frozen DinnersSoy Beans Pineapples Dry CerealSugar Cane Cocoa Beans Baby FormulaSugar beets Yellow Squash Canned SoupsTomatoes Popcorn CookiesPotatoes Canola Oil Ice CreamSweet Peppers Cottonseed Oil Aspartame SweetenerBananas Soy Sauce YeastStrawberries Frozen Pizza 6
  8. 8. WHAT THE OPPOSITION HAS TO LOSEBIG FOOD and BIOTECHCOMPANIES HAVE A LOT TOLOSE IF GMOs ARE LABELED If consumers know that the food they eat contain GMOs, they may stop buying those products. In order to appease customers, companies will start to make the switch to non-GMO ingredients Food companies will have to reconfig- $ ure their supply chains and absorb higher costs. Biotech companies will have less opportunity to sell GMO seeds and can potentially lose their hold on the agriculture industry7
  9. 9. FUNDING FOR PROP 37MOST OF THE FUNDING FOR NO ONPROP 37 HAS COME FROM THE BIGSIX PESTICIDE COMPANIES & MAJORCONGLOMERATE FOOD COMPANIESLEADING SUPPORTERS OF LEADING OPPOSITIONPROP 37 AGAINST PROP 371. $1,100,000 1. Monsanto Company $7,100,5002. Organic Consumers $984,639.25 2. Dupont $4,900,000 Fund 3. BASF Plant Science $2,000,0003. Nature’s Path Foods $610,709.21 4. Bayer Cropscience $2,000,0004. Dr. Bronner’s Magic $358,882.70 Soaps 5. DOW Agrosciences $2,000,0005. Wehah Farms $250,000 6. PepsiCo $1,716,3006. Great Foods of America $102,000 7. Nestle USA $1,169,4007. Alex Bogusky $100,000 8. Coca-Cola N. America $1,164,4008. Amy’s Kitchen $100,000 9. Conagra Foods $1,076,7009. Clif Bar & Co $100,000 10. Syngenta Co $1,000,00010. Organic Consumers $78,828.36 11. General Mills $908,200 Association 12. Del Monte Foods $674,100 13. Kellogg Co $632,500 TOTAL RAISED: $4MM TOTAL RAISED: $35MM 8
  10. 10. CONSUMERS DEMAND GMO LABELING In a 2011 poll of over 45,000 voters, 96% believe that genetically modified foods should be labeled. (MSNBC) As far back as 1992, 85% of respondents thought that labeling of GE food is “very important” (USDA). has a collection of over 25 polls from the last 20 years that consistently show above 80% thresh- olds of consumers who believe that GMOs should be prop- erly labeled (Source:
  11. 11. CONSUMERS WANTPROP 37 PASSED,BUT BIG ADVERTISINGBUDGETS ARESWAYING THEMProp 37 is the FIRST ballot initiative in the US trying to require thelabeling GMOs. This direct democracy means Prop 37 will be votedon by the people, not by the legislature.EARLY POLLS SHOW THAT PROP 37 TO BE OVERWHELMINGLY POPULARIn September, an LA Times poll showed that 61% of registeredvoters are for Prop 37, while the opposition had 25% of votersagainst the initiative. 14% of the voters were undecided or refusedto answer. (Source:, SUPPORT FOR THE INITIATIVE IS SLIPPINGAn LA Times article from October 12th shows that support for theproposition has dropped in the wake of the opposition’s massivemedia campaign. Support for Prop 37 hovers around 48.2% whilethe opposition has grown to 40.2% with 11.5% of voters undecided.(Source: ) 10
  12. 12. SUPPORTERS OF PROPOSITION 37 ARGUE THAT… We have a right to know what is in our food. Prop 37 gives consumers the right to know if their food has been genetically engineered. It empowers people to make their own choices by providing a simple label to tell them if the food has been genetically engineered or not. Without proper labeling, it is impossible to know what is in the food being consumed. Labeling a product as ‘natural’ when it contains GMO ingredients is misleading. Marketers have long been misleading consumers by using “natural” in their labeling and marketing of products. The very definition of GMOs by the World Health Organization states that the organisms have been “altered in such a way that does not occur naturally.” Unscrupulous marketers play on the fact that “organic” sounds similar to natural and that the average consumer does not realize that “natural” holds no real value other than sounding positive. GMOs have never been proven safe. While there are numerous studies from either side whether GMOs are safe to consumer or if they are dangerous to human health, there has never been a consensus. Companies like Monsanto and DuPont have done their own research, however, they are inherently biased. Independent studies have been stifled by claims of “commercial confidentiality” and any findings are often dismissed. The United States FDA office does not require more than 90 days of testing, so the long-term health effects of GMOs are not known and are there- fore potentially dangerous.11
  13. 13. OPPONENTS OF PROPOSITION 37ARGUE THAT THE INITIATIVE…Bans the sale of tens of thousands of perfectly-safe, common grocery productsunless they are specifically repackaged, relabeled, or made with higher food costs.Opponents of Prop 37 use misleading language to trick consumers. Prop 37 does not ban any products, but merelyrequires a small label indicating the presence of GMOs in the food. Manufacturers can also choose to stop usingGMOs in those products and re-make them with non-GMO ingredients if they are afraid of consumer backlash.Was written by trial lawyers for trial lawyers.Proposition 37 requires advance notice of intent to sue and requires a cooling-off period of at least 30 days duringwhich an alleged violator can correct the alleged violation. If the violation is corrected, the court will not allow alawsuit to proceed and no punitive damages may be awarded. In fact, Prop 37 has removed the monetary incentiveto attorneys to file lawsuits in an attempt to extort large cash settlements, since corrective action is sufficient tohalt the suit. (Source: full of absurd, politically-motivated exemptions that make no sense.Dairy and meat products are exempt from Prop 37 because testing for the presence of genetically engineeredingredients isn’t feasible. Animals aren’t genetically modified and their by-products (dairy, eggs, meat, and poultry)are therefore not required to be labeled. By targeting these exemptions, the opposition draws attention away fromtheir own special interests in preventing labeling of GMOs.Forces farmers and food companies to implement costly new labeling…that willcost billions of dollars to implement.Prop 37 gives companies 18 months to change their labels. The industry standard is to change labels 1-5 times ayear already, so they have ample opportunity. In addition, non-partisan economic studies show a one-time averageper-product cost to manufacturers of $1,104 for proper labeling, which represents only 0.03% of annual perproduct sales. (Source:“When the current labeling regime (for GMOs) was introduced in 1997, it did not result inincreased costs, despite the horrifying prediction of some interests.” - David Byrne, European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection at the time of labeling in the EUMeans higher food costs, up to $350 per year.No On Prop 37 directly funded the study ( that came up with these findings. The study incor-rectly bases its findings off of a failed Oregon measure and generates its $350 number from comparing costs ofbuying entirely GMO versus entirely organic. Under Prop 37, consumers still have the choice to buy GMO foods, sothis number is invalid to cite as fact. An independent study found prices will only increase by an average of $1.27per year if costs were passed on to consumers. However, this isn’t likely to happen because manufacturers areafraid to lose consumers to alternative products with lower prices. (Source: 12
  14. 14. GMO CONSUMPTION HAS YET TO BE PROVEN AS SAFE. POTENTIAL RISKS INCLUDE: Toxicity: Each genetic insertion creates the Immune-suppression: Scientists have found added possibility that formerly nontoxic that animals consuming certain GE foods show elements in the food could become toxic. impaired organ development, body metabolism, and immune function. Allergic Reactions: Genetic engineering can transfer allergens from foods to which people Cancer: Dairy products from cows treated with know they are allergic, to foods that they think the GE animal drug rBGH possess increased are safe; and could create different and new levels of a hormone linked to the growth of allergic responses. breast cancer, prostate cancer, and colon cancer. Antibiotic Resistance: GE foods could make disease-causing bacteria resistant to current Loss of Nutrition: The genetic engineering of antibiotics, resulting in a significant increase foods can change their nutrient content, reduc- in the spread of infections and diseases in the ing nutritional value. Its own scientists warned human population. the FDA as far back as 1992 that genetic modification could cause “undesirable altera- tion in the level of nutrients.” Also, according to The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM), "several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with GM food consumption including infertility, immune dysregulation, accelerated aging, Faulty insulin regulation, and changes in major organs and gastrointestinal system."13 Source:
  15. 15. DEBUNKING BIOTECH’SCLAIMS ON GMO 1. Genetic engineering is precise and the 4. GMOs are properly tested to not cause modifications are isolated. allergic reactions. Truth: Genetic engineering is crude and Truth: No thorough allergenicity testing is imprecise. Genes interact with each other conducted on GMOs before they’re in the in a variety of ways and inserting new market. Inserting genes from foods with genes may cause unintended side effects. allergen into different organisms have been shown to produce adverse reactions. GM 2. Those who say GMOs are unsafe are Insecticidal Maize created a new form of being selective with the data, since many protein –zein, a known allergen. They also other studies validate their safety. inserted brazil nut genes into soy, creating reactions in those with allergies. Truth: Studies that claim safety of GMOs are funded by interested parties and are there- 5. GMOs decrease need for pesticides and fore biased. Independent testing of GMOs herbicides. are suppressed by their manufacturers based on “commercial confidentiality.” Truth: Pests and insects develop resistance to the modified traits of GMOs, requiring 3. GMOs have been proven safe for human more chemical use over time. consumption. 6. GMOs have economic benefits for farmers Truth: No countries require long-term (over 90 days) studies. There are few studies that Truth: GMO seeds are the Intellectual have been conducted on humans. Formal Property of the company that made them and informal studies of GMO effects on (e.g. Monsanto) and cannot be used again, animals have shown major health problems so farmers must buy more every year. including death and infertility. Short-term savings may occur, but costs increase over time because farmers cannot practice self-sustaining agriculture.Source: GMO Myths and Truths 14
  16. 16. ADDITIONAL RESOURCES CAMPAIGNS CA Right To Know - No On Prop 37 - ARTICLES AND WEBSITES Vote For The Dinner Party New York Times - This article by Michael Pollan provides an educated look at the higher-level transparency issues surrounding Prop 37. Campaign Finance: Prop 37 Opponents Leave Advocates in Dust Food Product Design - Discusses the funding differences between either side of Prop 37, especially how Yes On Prop 37 spent a lot of money getting the initiative on the ballot. TV Ad Against Food Labeling Proposition Is Pulled LA Times No On Prop 37 was forced to recreate their advertisements after shooting them at Stanford without express permission of the University. One professor of a Stanford think tank has demonstrated his support in front of images of the school, implying the school’s support for the cause. This LA Times article discusses Stanford’s reaction. Pesticide Use Ramping Up As GMO Crop Technology Backfires Reuters - Reuters highlights a study that shows an increase in pesticide use since the introduction of GMO crops, making the original intent of genetic engineering (chemical resistance) a null point. GMO Debate Heats Up: Critics Say Biotech Industry Manipulating Genes, And Science Huffington Post This article on Huffington Post examines the issue of GMO labeling and addresses the criticisms of special interest bias in the science behind the debate. Let’s Talk About GMOs At Whole Foods Whole Foods - After a revealing video showed that Whole Foods employees didn’t know about GMOs in their products, the company came out with their official statement of support for Prop 37. However, they are criticized for voicing their support but refusing to give any money to the cause. Prop 37: The Customer Is King, And Labels Need To Reflect That Forbes - Dean Crutchfield provides an ethical marketing and business take on the Prop 37 issue, highlighting the way opponents of the initiative would be wise to listen to their consumers. Big Tobacco Shills Trying To Stop Labeling In California Appetite for Profit - This author took a deeper look into the firms behind No Prop 37 and found that the law firm representing the opposition has links to the controversial Big Tobacco groups that used astroturfing, corporate-funded ‘grassroots’ campaigns, and bogus15
  17. 17. ADDITIONAL RESOURCES ARTICLES AND WEBSITES CONT. Conventional Farmer: Labeling is a Win-Win - Troy Roush, a well-known GMO farmer who appeared in the 2009 documentary Food, Inc., has stated that he has no problem with the labeling of GMOs. In his own words, the issue of labeling “is not a big deal” and provides a “win-win” for farmers and consumers. Rat Study Sparks Furor over Genetically Modified Foods Scientific American - Highlights the renewed debate over GMOs after a controversial rat study was published that linked GM corn to cancerous tumors. France Orders Probe After Rat Study Links GM Corn, Cancer The Journal - Following the study that GMO corn causes cancer, France decided it was time to look into the GMO issue more closely. An important player in the EU, France’s decisions could affect many other countries. Russia Suspends Import, Use of GMOs Fox News- After France launched a probe into GMO foods because of the GM corn / cancer study, Russia took the situation one step further and completely suspended the import or use of GMOs in the entire nation. EU rejects French scientist report linking GM corn to cancer New York Daily News - The European Food Safety Authority said it cannot accept an "inadequate" report by a French scientist on a link between cancer and genetically modified corn when evaluating the risk. It found the "design, reporting and analysis of the study ... are inadequate," meaning it could not "regard the authors conclusions as scientifically sound.” Labeling Of Genetically Engineered Foods Is A Losing Proposition Forbes - Written by the founding director of the FDA’s Office of Biotechnology, this article uses loose language to try and convince voters to cast a “No” against Prop 37. Henry Miller was also responsible for drafting the claims against Prop 37 that appears in the California Voter’s Pamphlets and is the main authority in No On Prop 37’s videos. Are GMO foods safe? Opponents are skewing the science to scare people. Slate - This article, written in Slate Magazine, has the subhead “Don’t Worry. Genetically Modified Corn Isn’t Going To Give You Cancer.” Kloor presents the debate over Prop 37 in a very contrarian manner, calling out “climate skeptics of the left.” Editorial Boards Support No Prop 37 - This page on No On Prop 37’s website lists out a series of editorials in California newspapers that encourage people to reject Prop 37. The campaign presents these editorials as “proof” that California newspapers are against Prop 37, when the articles are really editorials (opinions). DOCUMENTARIES Genetic Roulette - Seeds of Freedom - Food, Inc - 16
  18. 18. ADDITIONAL RESOURCES PRO-PROP 37 VIDEOS Yes on 37 - We Have The Right To Know by Yes on Prop 37 - California Right To Know by Yes on Proposition 37 to Label Genetically Engineered Food. We Have the Right to Know. by In the Dark about GE Food? Just Label It! Just Label It: Labels Matter to Moms Just Label It: We Have a Right to Know Genetically Modified Food - The Right To Know by Eat Food & Live in California? You Have a Right to Know by Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) - Myths and Truths by Mercola.coms Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) Video "Question Whats Inside" music video on GMOs The Video Monsanto Does NOT Want You to See! By Nutiva & Elevate Right to Know: Vote Yes on Prop 37 by Genetic engineering: The worlds greatest scam? United States of GMOs TheFoodBabe’s YouTube -