Big Pet Food Says No to Your Right to Know


Tomorrow when the polls open in California on November 6, The California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act Prop 37 will be voted on.

The country looks nervously on as the future of food as we know it hangs in the balance.  If it passes, it will prohibit pet food manufacturers who include genetically engineered material in their formulas from labeling or advertising such food as ‘natural’ and pet foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) will be labeled as ‘Partially Produced with Genetic Engineering’ or ‘May be Partially Produced with Genetic Engineering’.

What’s wrong with that?  Sounds good to me, I prefer honesty, transparency and truth in labeling, don’t you?  What’s not to love?

Big Pet Food is Not That Into It

As you can imagine, Big Pet Food (BPF) is not in love with it. They fear that “if adopted by California voters on Election Day, this ballot initiative would have serious ramifications for those who produce and sell pet food”.  Worse, it would deprive them of their most beloved marketing keyword: ‘natural’; Prop 37 would strictly forbid them from labeling or advertising a raw or processed pet food made from plants or animals with genetic material, as natural.

The Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC), who describe themselves as an organization that ‘promotes responsible pet ownership and animal welfare, fosters environmental stewardship, and ensures the availability of pets…is a nonprofit, service-oriented organization comprised of members who care about pets and the pet industry,’ is against Proposition 37.

Interestingly, the members who sit on the PIJAC Board of Directors include some of the biggest names in industry, including Petco, Petsmart, Central Garden and Pet, Natural Balance Pet Food, American Pet Product Association (APPA), Pet Industry Distributors Association (PIDA), World Pet Association (WPA), among others.

Boo Hoo

PIJAC complains that the proposal would impose “excessive costs for re-labeling”, a cost, they insist, they would be forced to pass them on to petsumers.  They want petsumers to believe that Prop 37 “will not help pets, but will be costly for pet-owners!”

Despite PIJAC’s insistence that it would be a financial burden to their industry to re-label their products, cash-strapped industry giants have sunk millions of dollars into opposing the proposal.

Mega Bucks

Nestle-Purina, the pet food giant that sells the country’s number one selling treat, Waggin’ Train, who, some say is responsible for poisoning thousands of pets, doesn’t want you to know what is in your pet’s food. Nestle USA (Waggin’ Train, Canyon Creek Ranch and Purina) sunk a cool $1,315,600 into opposing the Prop 37 campaign.  Among them, were Del Monte the makers of Milk Bone, Pup-Peroni, Milo’s Kitchen, Nature’s Recipe and Kibbles N’ Bits who donated $674,100, Mars, makers Nutro, Cesar, Greenies, Pedigree, and Royal Canin, chipped in $376,650; Conagra Foods donated $1,176,700, Cargill, Inc. threw in $226,846 and Land O’Lakes donated an undisclosed amount under $150,000, among others.

You Decide

It’s up to you to decide. Do you want Big Food deciding what you are allowed to know, to make the decision about what you choose to eat or feed your pet?  I don’t.

If you live in California, please vote for Proposition 37. I urge you to join me in supporting Proposition 37 because we deserve the right to know!

If you have any questions about PIJAC’s campaign to deprive you of your right to know, please contact PIJAC’s Michael Maddox via email at or by phone at 202-452-1525, ext 106.

To learn more about Prop 37: 
California Proposition 37, Mandatory Labeling of Genetically Engineered Food (2012)
Vote Yes on 37
(Food & Water Watch)
CA Right to Know Campaign (Judson Parker, Yes on 37)

Watch and Food & Water Watch’s campaign to make GE Labeling the Law:
Food & Water Watch’s movie star-studded video featuring Danny DeVito in a brilliant piece about Prop 37
Trust Us! Vote Yes on Prop 37
James Franco Says YES to Prop 37
Bill Maher on the Truth Behind Prop 37

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Mollie Morrissette

Mollie Morrissette, the author of Poisoned Pets, is an animal food safety expert and consumer advisor. Help support her work by making a donation today.


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