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World biotech giant Syngenta AG, which once ran the Torrey Mesa Research Institute just north of La Jolla, has come up with $1 million for the campaign against California's Proposition 37, a measure to impose labeling requirements on so-called genetically engineered food.

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According to a campaign disclosure posted online yesterday by the California Secretary of State's office, the firm made its contribution on October 9.

The Torrey Mesa Research Institute was once one of the world's leading centers of corporate research and development regarding the secretive and esoteric art and science of genetic manipulation of plants, including food crops.

After years of operation, the institute was shut down in 2003 after Syngenta, a maker of seeds and pesticides, cut a deal with Diversa Corporation in which the Swiss company gave Diversa exclusive rights to patents and other intellectual property in return for an equity interest in San Diego-based company.

"As part of the arrangement, Syngenta opted to relocate its plant genomics programs, including its work with the rice genome, from its Torrey Mesa Research Institute subsidiary to Syngenta Biotechnology Inc. in North Carolina," according to a report in the Daily Transcript.

About 19 Torrey Mesa Research Institute employees made the move to North Carolina, while another 77 became employees of Diversa.

In 2007, Diversa merged with Celunol Corporation and renamed itself Verenium Corporation, and two years later Verenium and Syngenta announced they were closing down their joint research operation here.

"Syngenta will retain exclusive rights to the biomolecules expressed in plants, as well as nonexclusive rights to the same biomolecules expressed through non-plant, non-microbial means," according to a November 3, 2009 news release.

According to its webite, "Verenium evolves bacterial and fungal DNA to create enzymes that transform and dramatically improve industrial processes...through the use of proprietary and patented technologies."

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Comments

Dads4Prop37 Oct. 11, 2012 @ 11:02 p.m.

Nearly 50 countries require labels on Genetically Engineered food (GMOs), and many of these also have severe restrictions or bans against GMO food production or sale. Countries with mandatory labeling include Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand, Russia and all of the countries in the European Union. Some of the countries with severe restrictions or bans against GMO food production or sale are Germany, Switzerland, Hungary, Ireland, the Philippines, Australia, Peru and Japan. What do they know that we don’t?

The U.S. and Canada are two of the only developed nations in the world without GMO labeling (for political not scientific reasons). The biotech and food industry supports labeling of GMOs in other parts of the world but not in America. What are they hiding from us? We deserve to know and have the same level of protection and information as citizens in other nations around the world! VOTE YES on PROP 37 to demand this right to know what’s in the food we buy in California.

Proposition 37 (The California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act) is a common sense initiative that would require non exempt foods and beverages sold in California retail stores to be labeled if they are produced with Genetic Engineering or contain Genetically Engineered ingredients. The initiative simply requires that a notation be added either on the front or back package stating that the food is "Partially Produced with Genetic Engineering", or "May be Partially Produced with Genetic Engineering". For whole foods that are not packaged, such as sweet corn or fresh fish, store shelves would be required to post a sign or label stating the phrase "Genetically Engineered". In addition to this disclosure, Genetically Engineered foods would be prohibited from being advertised as ‘Natural’. This makes sense since Genetically Engineered food by definition of their creators is not natural.

Packaged foods already have labels showing nutrition, allergy information and other facts consumers want to know. Contrary to the misrepresentations of our greedy corporate opponents, Prop 37 is easy to comply with and does not create new bureaucracies, force manufactures to change ingredients or ban the use of genetic engineering. Independent, unbiased studies show Prop 37 will not add cost to farmers, manufacturers or consumers.

Don’t believe the crafty deception from Monsanto and the other chemical and junk food companies . . . get the facts about Prop 37 and read the proposed law yourself.

It’s simple . . . You have a Right To Know what’s in your food!

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Dads4Prop37 Oct. 11, 2012 @ 11:03 p.m.

The most common Genetically Engineered crops are Corn, Soy, Canola, Sugar Beets, Cotton, Hawaiian Papaya, Alfalfa, and Squash (zucchini and yellow). However GMOs are also processed into common food ingredients such as: Amino Acids, Aspartame, Ascorbic Acid, Sodium Ascorbate, Vitamin C, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Flavorings (“natural” and “artificial”), High Fructose Corn Syrup, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, Lactic Acid, Maltodextrins, Molasses, Monosodium Glutamate, Sucrose, Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP), Xanthan Gum, Vitamins and Yeast Products.

Proposition 37 will make it easier for consumers to know if the food they buy contains GMOs without having to make sense of a long list of unfamiliar ingredients.

The founder of PROP 37, a Grandmother from Chico, is joined by thousands of Californian citizens fighting for honesty and transparency in our food supply. Unlike the multinational corporate opponents of PROP 37, who fear loss of profits from the rejection of their never proven safe GMOs, we have nothing to financially gain or loose by the outcome of PROP 37. Join us in the fight for our right to know what’s in the food we’re eating and feeding to our families . . . we deserve to be able to make a fully informed choice about what we eat!

Visit any of these sites to learn more about the medical, environmental, political and social issues associated with Genetically Engineered food . . .

EarthOpenSource.org

ResponsibleTechnology.org

CenterForFoodSafety.org

GMO-Journal.com

NonGMOProject.org (Certified Non GMO Food products)

CARightToKnow.org (Prop 37-Label GMOs Campaign site)

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