Food Politics + Justice

Published on October 10th, 2012 | by Jennifer Kaplan


Proposition 37 Greenwash: Organic Brands with Corporate Ties Fund Opposition to GMO Labeling

Kashi is one of the organic/natural brands that’s fighting to keep consumers in the dark about GMOs.

Why are some well-known organic brands fighting to keep consumers in the dark about GMOs by contributing to the “No on Prop 37” campaign?

The Cornucopia Institute recently updated their infographic [pdf] which shows exactly which organic brands are – and more importantly are NOT – supporting the campaign in California to label genetically engineered foods (GMOs). Several well-known organic brands – most of which are owned by larger agribusinesses and food conglomerates – are actually fighting to keep consumers in the dark about genetically altered foods by actively contributing to the “No on Prop 37” campaign.

Of course, it’s all about profits, and these companies are just one arm of huge corporations that don’t want consumer awareness to hurt their profits. Check out the Cornucopia Institute infographic to see which organic brands are fighting and supporting Prop 37:

Prop 37 Infographic

I was stunned to learn that trusted brands such as Honest Tea, Kashi, Naked Juice, Izze, Lara Bar, Horizon and several other organic and “natural” brands all were contributors to the $34 million dollar campaign against GMO labeling. Shocking really.

First, this is clearly one of the basic strategies of greenwashing: political spin, aka. “advertising or speaking about corporate ‘green’ commitments while lobbying against pending or current environmental laws and regulations,” and while greenwashing genetically modified crops is not new, this goes too far.

What’s so bad about this?

As I’ve said before on this blog (about Frito-Lays and POM and Skinny Girl Cocktails to name a few), greenwashing is dangerous because it erodes consumer confidence and diminishes the value of legitimate environmental successes. Therefore, scrutiny is essential.

What can you do?

  • Sign a petition.
  • Ask large organic brands/companies that are missing in action to pony up. Talk is cheap.
  • Tell the corporate players opposing your right to know what’s in your food that if they want your business, they can’t sell-out organic values.
  • Thank independent organic business that have put their money where their mouth is.

You can use your big green purse to support (buy) good brands and avoid (don’t buy) bad brands. Don’t stop there.  Use your blogs and your tweets to call out these bad brands. I’ve created a Twitter list, Bad Organic Brands, so you can send tweets to each one telling them to stop funding the “No to Prop 37” campaign.  Don’t forget, your big green purse and your social media leverage is truly powerful.

Image Credit: Remixed Creative Commons photo by Chasqui

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About the Author

is a former marketing consultant who decided, at the age of fifty, to turn her hand to creative non-fiction. Jennifer continues to write about sustainable food and wine, the intersection of food and marketing and food politics for and is the author of Greening Your Small Business (November 2009, Penguin Group (USA)). She was named one of The 16 Women You Must Follow on Twitter for Green Business. She has four kids, a dog, a hamster and an MBA - follow her on and .

8 Responses to Proposition 37 Greenwash: Organic Brands with Corporate Ties Fund Opposition to GMO Labeling

  1. Pingback: In Cali, big organic brands supporting Monsanto on GMO labeling

  2. Pingback: Your Green Food Watchdog | Eat Drink Better

  3. Pingback: GMO Labeling | Eat Drink Better

  4. Pingback: Come and Get ‘It! October Pul-IM-zer Prize Nominees

  5. Pingback: Which Companies Lobbied Against GMO Labeling in California?

  6. j says:

    can someone list all brands that supported no on prop 37; that info graph is too small to read. We need clarity

  7. Pingback: Coke Invests in Milk Drinks | Eat Drink Better

  8. Pingback: Last-Minute Gift Ideas | Feelgood Style

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