This Man is Lying About Your Food

NOTE: This is a guest post from John Robbins, Author of Diet for a New America.

You may have never heard of Henry I. Miller, but right now he is attempting to determine the future of food in this country. And he has enormous financial backing.

Mr. Miller is the primary face and voice of the “No on Prop 37″ campaign in California. At this very moment, Monsanto and other pesticide companies are spending more than $1 million a day to convince California voters that it’s not in their best interest to know whether the food they eat is genetically engineered. And Henry I. Miller is their guy.

If you live in California today, he’s hard to miss. You see him in TV ads, hear him in radio spots, and his face is all over the expensive fliers that keep showing up uninvited in your mail box. Initially, the ads presented Miller as a Stanford doctor. But he isn’t. He’s a research fellow at a conservative think tank (the Hoover Institute) that has offices on the Stanford campus. When this deceptive tactic came to light, the ads were pulled and then redone. But they still feature Miller telling the public that Prop 37 “makes no sense,” and that it’s a “food-labeling scheme written by trial lawyers who hope for a windfall if it becomes law.”

Actually, Prop 37 makes all the sense in the world if you want to know what’s in the food you eat. It was written by public health advocates, and provides no economic incentives for filing lawsuits.

Who, then, is Henry I. Miller, and why should we believe him when he tells us that genetically engineered foods are perfectly safe?

Does it matter that this same Henry Miller is an ardent proponent of DDT and other toxic pesticides? Does it matter that the “No on Prop 37″ ads are primarily funded by pesticide companies, the very same companies that told us DDT and Agent Orange were safe?
NOTE: This is a guest post from John Robbins, Author of Diet for a New America.

I find it hard to avoid the impression that Henry Miller is a premier corporate flack. He was a founding member of the Philip Morris backed front group that tried to discredit the links between tobacco products and cancer. After the nuclear meltdown in Fukushima, he argued that exposure to radiation from the disaster could actually provide health benefits. He argues that drug companies, not the FDA, should be responsible for testing new drugs. And he is a board member of the George C. Marshall Institute which, funded by oil and gas companies, is notorious for its denial of climate change.

Now he’s telling us that we should vote No on 37 because, he says, the labeling law contains exemptions included “for special interests.” As if the corporations he fronts for weren’t the biggest “special interests” of all. And by the way, the exemptions in Prop 37 conform to those found in GMO labeling laws in the 61 other nations around the world, including the European Union, that already require labeling for foods that are genetically engineered.

Miller and the No on 37 campaign say that labeling would increase family food bills by hundreds of dollars per year. Interestingly, the study they cite to justify this claim was paid for by the No on 37 campaign itself. It was the work of a Maine public relations firm, Northbridge Consulting, that has no economic expertise, but has worked on behalf of Coke and Pepsi against laws that would require the recycling of soda pop bottles.

Would the passing of Prop 37 actually raise the price consumers pay for food? Henry Miller adamantly proclaims that it would. But according to the only fully independent economic analysis of Prop 37, prepared by researchers at Emory University School of Law, “Consumers will likely see no increase in prices as a result of the relabeling” required by the bill.

Somehow I keep getting the feeling that Henry Miller may not be the man you want to listen to when your health is at stake. But Monsanto and its allies are seeing to it that this man’s face and beliefs are everywhere in California today. One television viewer in San Francisco reported seeing ads featuring Miller no less than 12 times in a single day.
NOTE: This is a guest post from John Robbins, Author of Diet for a New America.

Other “No on 37″ ads feature a physician, Ronald Kleinman, dressed of course in the obligatory white coat. Though the ads don’t mention it, Dr. Kleinman’s ethical principles don’t seem to hamper him from being a highly paid voice for the interests of the junk food companies. While working for Coca-Cola, he advocated for “the safety … of sugar, artificial colors and nonnutritive sweeteners in children’s diets.

Not content with misrepresenting Stanford University (three times), the pesticide and junk food companies behind No on 37 have also:

  1. Misled voters in the state voter guide by claiming falsely that the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, believes GMO foods are safe.
  2. Illegally affixed the official US FDA seal to their campaign propaganda, and attributed a fabricated quote to the FDA, falsely implying that the FDA has taken a position against Prop 37.

Regrettably, this deluge of deceptive propaganda seems to be having an impact. Although polls originally showed that more than 80% of the California public want genetically modified food to be labeled, more recent polls are showing a virtual dead heat on Prop 37, with the advertising deluge only increasing in intensity.

Some daily newspapers in California are contributing to this unhappy trend by coming out against Prop 37, with editorials that use entire paragraphs directly from the “No on 37″ press releases. Might this have anything to do with the fact that processed foods companies are the primary source of advertising revenue for newspapers today? And that the lobby for the processed food companies, the Grocery Manufacturers Association, has called the defeat of Prop 37 its single highest priority for the year?

The famed food author Michael Pollan wrote recently that Proposition 37 is the litmus test for whether or not there is actually a food movement in this country. Public health activist Stacy Malkan adds that it also may be the litmus test for whether there is democracy left in this country.

These are good points. There is no food movement if Monsanto has its way with us. And there is no democracy without an informed citizenry.

The question now is whether we are going to allow special interests to dictate what we are allowed to know about the food they sell us.

In this case, ignorance is not bliss. It’s subservience to the agenda of Monsanto and the other pesticide companies. Without labeling, we are eating in the dark, with potentially disastrous consequences.

What remains to be seen is whether Californians will, come November 6th, allow Monsanto and its allies to control what you are allowed to know about the food you eat.

Find out more and get involved here.

Sign a petition to Congress calling for labeling of genetically engineered foods here.

John Robbins is cofounder of the Food Revolution Network, which provides information and inspiration to help you heal your body and your world with food. He is the author of many bestsellers, including The Food Revolution, No Happy Cows, and Diet For A New America. He is also the recipient of the Rachel Carson Award, the Albert Schweitzer Humanitarian Award, the Peace Abbey’s Courage of Conscience Award, Green America’s Lifetime Achievement Award and many other accolades.

To learn more about his work, visit http://www.johnrobbins.info

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Photo credit: No on Prop 37 ad screenshot

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189 comments

Stanley L.
Stanley Lewis3 years ago

Sailor H, This was a chance to slow down the amount of GMO substances that we will be ingesting until Monsanto is stopped.The latest reports are that GMOs are causing organ damage and birth defects. I think a law suit like the one against the Cig industry would be a good idea because of all the press and public education that occurred in the process. But something must be done before the entire worlds population is damaged...(accept the people who shop at Whole Foods) (;-)

Debra Van Way
Debra Van Way3 years ago

Sad to say Prop 37 failed to pass. It is easy to find the list of company's that paid to help it fail. Kellogg's was one of the majors. Look it up and start writing. Kashi's got an earful, let me tell you. Let them all know we will not buy products from companies that just proved they DON'T care about the health of their customers or giving their customer's the truth about what is in the food they sell so they can make an informed choice. I don't know about you all, but I am furious and I will be responding both by letter, phone calls and my checkbook. They will never see another dime from me.

Basim Nawaz
Basim Nawaz3 years ago

Hope that our food is safe!

Ben Oscarsito
Ben Oscarsito3 years ago

Monsanto is pure EVIL!

Raima S.
Raima S.3 years ago

This must be one of the most ridicules things i have ever heard. Most people don't even know about the GMO's and they have it going for almost 15 years now! I want to know what I am eating! Is that too much to ask?

Claudia Durand
Claudia Durand3 years ago

Burn Monsanto, burn!

Sailor H.
Sailor H.3 years ago

Wow, Stella- this is pretty wild! Thank you for sharing this info with us.
"Has ANYONE actually read Prop 37? Do you know what it does -- or, more importantly, what it doesn't do? Why are GMOs singled out and pesticides, hormones and other additives ignored? Why are dairy, eggs, meat and poultry excluded? Why are Girl Scout cookies regulated but fortune cookies excluded? Soy milk but not cow's milk? Canned soup but not the same soup sold "to go"? Meat is exempt even if raised on genetically-engineered grain or silage? Come on people, I'd hoped you were smarter than that. If you want a law that requires labeling all factors in food production, fine...but find one that is actually meaningful, based on science and not full of loopholes to benefit special interests. Oh, and be prepared to pay several hundred dollars more a year for the monitoring, testing, regulation, enforcement and increased production costs that such legislation will bring."

Stella Gamboni
Stella Gamboni3 years ago

Has ANYONE actually read Prop 37? Do you know what it does -- or, more importantly, what it doesn't do? Why are GMOs singled out and pesticides, hormones and other additives ignored? Why are dairy, eggs, meat and poultry excluded? Why are Girl Scout cookies regulated but fortune cookies excluded? Soy milk but not cow's milk? Canned soup but not the same soup sold "to go"? Meat is exempt even if raised on genetically-engineered grain or silage? Come on people, I'd hoped you were smarter than that. If you want a law that requires labeling all factors in food production, fine...but find one that is actually meaningful, based on science and not full of loopholes to benefit special interests. Oh, and be prepared to pay several hundred dollars more a year for the monitoring, testing, regulation, enforcement and increased production costs that such legislation will bring.

AmberAmber Martingale
Angela Roquemore3 years ago

dESPICABLE!

Cassandra Fountain

I would be interested in knowing how to get this type of proposition on making consumers aware of what is in their food and whether or not it has been genetically engineered (probably has) on the ballot in the state of Florida. What do I do? Just start a petition?