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08/24/2012 05:26 PM     print story email story  

Organic Community Calls for Boycott of Companies Fighting GMO Labels

SustainableBusiness.com News

Despite their own interests in organic and natural brands, big food companies have put up $25 million (so far) to fight the GMO labeling proposition on California's November election ballot, compared with just $3 million raised in support of the initiative.

Now, representatives of the organic foods movement are responding to that "gross hypocrisy" by calling for a global boycott of those brands.

The boycott is supported by the Organic Consumers Association, Cornucopia Institute, Mercola.com, and Natural News, and covers the following products that are marketed as either natural or organic:

  • Kellogg's (Kashi, Bear Naked, Morningstar Farms)
  • General Mills (Muir Glen, Cascadian Farm, Larabar)
  • Dean Foods (Horizon, Silk, White Wave)
  • Smucker's (R.W. Knudsen, Santa Cruz Organic)
  • Coca-Cola (Honest Tea, Odwalla)
  • Safeway ("O" Organics); Kraft (Boca Burgers and Back to Nature)
  • Con-Agra (Orville Redenbacher's Organic, Hunt's Organic, Lightlife)
  • PepsiCo (Naked Juice, Tostito's Organic, Tropicana Organic).  

California Prop 37 (the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act), would require labels on genetically engineered foods and prevent food companies from marketing any GMO foods as "natural."

The measure is seen as a national referendum on GMO labeling, especially since Congress has blocked federal measures that were part of the 2012 farm bill -- even though European countries have required it for a long time.

Food companies claim that labeling will confuse consumers. The Grocery Manufacturers Association has described it as a "serious, long-term threat to the viability of agricultural biotechnology. Defeating the Initiative is GMA’s single highest priority this year."

For a list of the companies trying to thwart the GMO labeling initiative.

"Just as we've observed in Europe, where labeling of food containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is mandatory, we fully expect that when given a choice, consumers will choose organic or non-GMO products," says Mark A. Kastel, Co-Director of Cornucopia. "And the industrial food lobby is fully cognizant of this - that's why they're fighting like hell against this grassroots effort."

Representatives of the organics food community estimate that almost 80% of non-organic processed foods, including so-called "natural" foods, contain genetically engineered bacteria, viruses, antibiotic-resistant genes, and foreign DNA. But none of those foods carry any sort of label.

Polls indicate that consumers are confused about the qualitative difference between organic and natural products, with a near majority believing that 'natural' means 'GMO-free' and 'almost organic,' says the Organic Consumers Association. 

For more on companies funding the defeat of California's GMO labeling referendum and action you can take to support it:

Website: www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_26121.cfm



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