September 1, 2012
St. Louis-based Monsanto, a leading producer of genetically engineered seeds and chemicals such as the herbicide Roundup, has donated $4.2 million to efforts to defeat Proposition 37, a controversial measure on the November ballot that would require labeling for genetically engineered foods.
But in the late 1990s, Monsanto ran advertisements in Britain that supported food labeling, which is common in Europe.
The European Union first approved labels for genetically engineered food in 1997, and specific rules covering corn and soy came a year later. Monsanto's ads in Europe apparently ran after the decision to label foods had been made. Labeling rules in the United Kingdom went into effect in early 1999.
"It ran in 1998-1999, was in the U.K. only and was supportive of efforts by retailers to position their products with their customers," Monsanto spokesman Tom Helscher wrote in an email.
A poll released Wednesday by Pepperdine University and the California Business Roundtable found that Proposition 37 had the support of 65 percent of likely voters. But 11 percent of the poll respondents were unsure, and many voters are just now beginning to focus on the November election.