Organic subsidiaries out their parent conglomerates


National brand-name food conglomerates are coming a cropper over California’s Proposition 37. Actually, it’s a double cropper.

First, they’re frantically scrambling to defeat this citizens initiative, which would establish a state right-to-know labeling requirement on any food with genetically manipulated organisms in it. The giants fear that consumers (damn them!) will reject products containing risky GMOs, so they want to keep such contents a secret. Since the California market is huge, passage of a labeling law there would effectively become a national provision. Thus, the corporations are mounting a massive PR campaign against Prop 37.

But — oops! — this media blitz is causing a second cropper for them by revealing way more about their conglomerated empires than they want people to know. Another of their carefully constructed consumer frauds is that many multinationals have quietly bought up dozens of popular organic food firms, but they’ve kept their conglomerate name off the labels, hoping that customers will think the organic brands are still scrappy independent businesses.

Now, though, the public is learning that Kashi organics, for example, is a subsidiary of Kellogg, which is spending a ton to defeat Prop 37. Other mega-buck donors to the anti-consumer campaign include General Mills (owner of Muir Glen), Dean Foods (owner of Horizon organic milk), plus giant deceivers like Campbell Soup, Coca-Cola, ConAgra, Hershey, Hormel, Nestle, Ocean Spray, PepsiCo and Sara Lee.

The fun part is that the organic subsidiaries of these giants support the Right-to-Know labeling law, and some of them are the ones who’ve outed their corporate parents for financing legalized consumer deception. Nothing like a feisty family squabble to air out the dirty linens and expose some ugly truths.


This opinion column does not necessarily reflect the views of Boulder Weekly.