GMO food giants push for lax federal GMO labeling law

By Funke Oyelade,

The battle for Genetically Modified organisms (GMOs) to be labeled is heating up in America. Instead of waiting for states to approve legal measures, food industry giants are now looking for a compromise in a federal law requiring GMOs to be labeled.

According to AFP, last year bills for genetically modified foods to be labeled were introduced in 26 states, but only two, Maine and Connecticut, approved the measure. However, they have not enforced it. While a poll has shown 93 percent of Americans want this type of food modified, the battle is heavily dominated by money.

GMO producers DuPont, Monsanto, Syngenta, and BASF and GMO users Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Kraft Foods spent $46 million to persuade the public to believe genetically modified food is good, while those against GMOs spent $9 million.

“That sent a tremendous signal to consumers. Many were unaware that companies would spend so much to keep consumers in the dark,” said Colin O’Neil of the Center for Food Safety, a nonprofit organization that opposes GMO foods.

Politico reported food industry giants such as ConAgra, PepsiCo and Kraft, are proposing that labeling not be mandatory and the corporations will yield to more federal oversights.

The industry is attempting to side step meeting the requirement of some states that are passing regulations on GMOs. “We’ve fought a mandatory label at the state level because we believe that a mandatory label misinforms consumers,” said Louis Finkel, head of the government affair Grocery Manufacturers Association.

The food industry giants have already tried to suppress every effort for GMO labeling through money, so they can continue to slide under the radar. Genetically modified foods need to be labeled so consumers have a choice as to whether or not they want to consume them. The effort of Monsanto, Coca-Cola, and other companies like them to keep consumers in the dark is suspicious.

A mandatory label does not misinform consumers, but it will put a dent in the money these billion dollar corporations make from blind consumers trusting them with their food. While claiming that GMOs are good and nothing is wrong with them, there is no study to back these claims. Neither of the major food and beverage companies that knowingly use GMOs can answer the question “What is so bad about labeling food that is genetically modified?”

They either talk about how hard it is to do so, how expensive it would be to not use GMOs, and more excuses. When it comes down to it, they do not care. They are willing to spend $46 million to mislead consumers and fight food measures in Congress. This has to stop and as consumers we have to push harder in our states and on the federal level to make sure strict labeling laws are put in place, enforced, and mandatory.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

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