Why 'Big Food' is Afraid of GMO Labeling, Paying Plenty to Stop It

This November, Californians will vote for or against Prop 37, the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act.

A vote FOR Prop 37 is a vote in favor of labeling genetically engineered foods.

Here’s what the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) says about it:

"The California Ballot Initiative to label genetically engineered food is "a serious, long-term threat to the viability of agricultural biotechnology. Defeating the Initiative is GMA’s single highest priority this year," says its President, Pamela Bailey.
In an excellent article about industries lined up to defeat the referendum, Ronnie Cummins says in AlterNet:
"Lining up against the consumer’s right to know — and throwing plenty of money into the fight — is a long list of industry front groups, food conglomerates and biotech companies. Near the top of that list is the powerful Washington, DC-based Grocery Manufacturer’s Association (GMA), a multi-billion-dollar trade association. The GMA represents America’s $1.2 trillion ‘Big Food’ industry, led by supermarket chains, Monsanto and other biotech companies, animal drug companies, multinational food manufacturers, and junk food restaurants — all of whom rely on the use of dangerous chemicals, pesticides, animal drugs, and GMOs to produce cheap, contaminated food."

"So far, the GMA has contributed a handsome $375,000 to the campaign to defeat Prop 37. Making the pot even sweeter are some hefty direct donations to the anti-labeling campaign from individual GMA members, including ConAgra Foods, J.M. Smucker, Hormel Foods, Kellogg Co., Coca-Cola North America and PepsiCo. and others."

Over the years, GMA’s 300 corporate members have participated in a long history of being on the wrong side of consumer rights.

On the federal and state levels they have opposed just about every food safety, fair trade, animal welfare, and consumer right-to-know legislation put forward by public interest groups, Cummins points out.

"It has opposed food irradiation labels, nutrition labeling, country-of-origin labeling, the banning of hazardous chemicals such as BPA from food and food packaging, and of course, labels on genetically engineered food."

Cummins provides these examples:

  • 1993-94: Opposed labels on dairy products derived from cows injected with Monsanto’s controversial Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH).
  • 1998: Supported, along with Monsanto, the use of GMO seeds, food irradiation, and sewage sludge in organic agriculture, spawning a nationwide organic consumer backlash.
  • 2001: Along with the chocolate industry, lobbied against legislation in the U.S. Congress that would have exposed slave-like child labor practices on cacao plantations in Africa.
  • 2004: Helped defeat a California bill that would have set nutrition standards for school food.

Why do they do this?

It’s all about profits, says Cummins.

"The GMA and its members know that a nation of informed consumers and truthful labels on grocery store products would sound the death knell for ‘profit-at-any-cost’ food manufacturers, grocers, and corporate agribusiness and biotech companies. These industries understand that if foods are properly labeled, millions of consumers will read the labels on so-called ‘conventional’ and ‘natural’ foods, note the presence of GMOs, complain to store managers, and in many cases seek out non-GMO and organic marketplace alternatives."

Read the full article:

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Comments on “Why 'Big Food' is Afraid of GMO Labeling, Paying Plenty to Stop It”

  1. Alice Manion

    I want food to be good and good for you like it was when I was growing up and raising my family in the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, please no GMO’s label all food.


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