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The debate being waged over whether or not to label genetically engineered (GMO) foods is an especially contentious one. Are both sides spending big to win the fight? Not exactly.
As we’ve reported, while the precise amount spent by the food and agriculture industries isn’t possible to tally*, an August estimate by the Environmental Working Group suggests that the number could be as high as $51.6 million for the first half of 2015 alone. This figure comes from federal lobbying and disclosure declarations filed by spenders that include the Grocery Manufacturers of America, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Monsanto, DuPont, Kellogg, Kraft, and General Mills.
In response to this reporting, some have suggested that labeling proponents are spending nearly as much in an effort to bolster their own products. We decided to take a look at what companies and groups in favor of GMO-labeling have spent. Here’s what we found.
The companies backing the JustLabelIt campaign, a collaborative effort of organizations and businesses working to label GMOs provided figures directly to Civil Eats, as did the Organic Trade Association (OTA) and U.S. Right-to-Know.
Here’s what these groups spent in 2015:
Organic Valley: $20,000
Organic Trade Association: $94,400
U.S. Right-To-Know: $114,000
Environmental Working Group/EWG Action Fund: $467,000
Consumers Union: $150,000
Center for Food Safety: $20,000
Grand Total: $1,425,500
Spending by these same groups in 2014 came to just over $1,030,000. In other words, it looks as if the pro-labeling side is being outspent by as much as a ratio of 50-to-1.
* Federal lobbying and disclosure declarations filed by registered lobbyists show money spent on GMO issues, but these are often bundled with other spending, so exact numbers are not publicly available.
Read full, original post: GMO Labeling Fight: Big Spending on Both Sides?