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GMO labeling campaign complains to feds about foes

October 18, 2012|By Marc Lifsher
  • Javier Alcantar tends genetically engineered corn at a Monsanto test plot in Woodland, Calif.
Javier Alcantar tends genetically engineered corn at a Monsanto test plot… (Noah Berger )

SACRAMENTO -- Supporters of Proposition 37 -- the genetically modified food labeling initiative -- have complained to federal law enforcement agencies that the opposition is engaging in fraudulent advertising activities.

The biggest offense, according to the Yes on 37 campaign, is the alleged illegal misuse of the official seal of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on an anti-Proposition 37 mailer recently sent to voters' homes.

"They've been caught red-handed impersonating the U.S. FDA," said campaign manager Gary Ruskin. He accused his foes of "running a campaign of lies, deceit and trickery."

No on 37 spokeswoman Kathy Fairbanks dismissed the "yes" campaign's assertions as groundless. The use of the FDA seal was not fraudulent or illegal, she said.

"These tactics seem desperate," Fairbanks said. "Yes on 37 is unable to defend their flawed measure on merits, so they're making wild accusations against our campaign, our spokespersons and well-established facts."

Complaints were sent Wednesday to the U.S. Department of Justice's Criminal Division, the U.S. attorney in Sacramento and the FDA's Ethics and Integrity section, Ruskin said.

Another alleged fraud in the state's official voter guide identified Henry I. Miller, a spokesman for the "no" campaign, "as a senior official with the FDA when in fact he does not work at FDA," Ruskin said. The anti-proposition ballot argument signed by Miller, a medical doctor, identifies himself as "founding director of the Office of Biotechnology Food & Drug Administration."

That's the same identification listed on a No on 37 television spot now airing statewide.

Miller is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, a conservative think-tank located on the campus of Stanford University. His biography at Hoover describes him as a 15-year veteran of the FDA and founding director of the Office of Biotechnology.

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