By Mark Wachtler
January 13, 2015. Irving, TX. (ONN) For the past month, the fight over GMO labeling has accelerated. Both the multi-national corporations who profit from Genetically Modified Organisms, as well as the grassroots activists around the country standing in opposition, have suddenly launched campaigns in their ongoing fight over GMO labeling. State mandates, national laws, false advertising, front groups and infiltrators - the GMO fight is getting serious.
Sabotage, infiltrators, false labeling, and secret legislation – the fight over GMOs goes on. Image courtesy of GlobalHealingCenter.com.
National GMO labeling ban
Just this morning, our good friends at Food and Water Watch sent us a warning and asking us to help spread the word that the incoming Republican Congress is already working to reward some of their biggest corporate contributors. Their present to Wall Street is the Deny Americans the Right to Know Act (DARK). But don’t expect GOP legislators to use that obviously antagonistic title created by anti-GMO activists. Knowing the US Congress, the Bill will be titled something like the Feed The World Act.
‘Monsanto, Nestlé, Dow and Pepsi's industry group, the Grocery Manufacturers Association, is trying to pass a federal bill that would effectively prevent the labeling of genetically engineered foods, or GMOs,’ Food and Water Watch’s action page explains, ‘If this kind of Bill passes, even states that have already enacted laws requiring GMO labeling would be prevented from requiring labels. That's why this kind of Bill is commonly referred to as the Deny Americans the Right to Know (or DARK) Act.’
Let the Market Decide
Food and Water Watch’s Amanda Byrnes makes an excellent point when she says Republicans should abide by their own rules and “let the market decide” if American consumers want GMO labels or not. “Over 90% of Americans support the labeling of GMOs, a rare consensus that crosses all Party lines,” she adds, “We have a right to know what’s in the food we eat and a right to make informed choices about what we feed ourselves and our families.”
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The FWW organizer goes on to say, “It's just a matter of time before more states pass labeling laws, which is why the Grocery Manufacturers Association, representing corporations like Monsanto, Nestlé and Dow, hopes its allies in Congress will pass some version of the DARK Act and take away states’ rights to determine whether genetically engineered ingredients need to be disclosed on labels. ‘Let the market decide’ has long been a rallying point for politicians favoring limited regulation of corporations, so maybe it's time to tell those members of Congress that the market has spoken, and it wants labels.”
GMO products labeled as non-GMO
Three weeks ago, our friends at Natural News republished a warning from Consumer Reports. What the trusted and reputable consumer watchdog revealed was that a popular brand of tortilla chip sold across the US was labeled at non-GMO but actually contained high levels of GMO corn. After Consumer Reports tested 80 different organic and non-GMO labeled products, it found that only 1% of them were making false claims. One of those is the Xochitl brand, or Xochitl Totopos de Maiz. Lab tests showed its tortilla chips labeled non-GMO contained an average of 75% GMO corn.
In its complaint to the Federal Trade Commission, Consumer Reports noted that it tested six samples of Xochitl tortilla chips and, “We found an average of more than 75% GE corn content from the six different packages we tested.” When contacted by the consumer group, a spokesperson for the chip manufacturer said they rely on GMO testing done by their corn suppliers and were mislead themselves.
This isn’t the first time consumer products have been caught labeled as non-GMO when they actually contain GMO ingredients. One example from the Farm Wars Blog details the author’s own epiphany when the health food enthusiast decided to research the ingredients on the label of his non-GMO protein bar. As far back as 2011, the product labeled non-GMO actually contained a dozen or more GMO ingredients, but was somehow legally entitled to be labeled ‘non-GMO’.
Whole Foods accused of selling falsely labeled GMO products
Two months ago, Whole Foods was sued by its customers in a California Class Action lawsuit accusing the retailer of selling GMO products labeled as non-GMO. As detailed by PrisonPlanet.com because Food Navigator won’t let anyone quote their articles, the plaintiffs’ prime evidence comes in the form of Blue Diamond Almond Breeze brand almond milk.
The problem isn’t that the products contain GMO ingredients, but that they weren’t tested or certified before displaying the ‘non-GMO Project’ seal of approval. All three parties – Whole Foods, Blue Diamond, and the non-GMO Project – have refused comment citing pending litigation. The manufacturer already has a number of its products tested and certified as non-GMO. But in the case of its almond milk, it seems it jumped the gun in printing its product labels.
While multi-national corporations use scare tactics to insist printing ‘non-GMO’ on their labels would force them to raise prices exponentially, brands like Blue Diamond Almond Breeze are proving it’s simply not true. In fact, a recent study by the Consumers Union and published in Food Safety News found that a law requiring all GMO products in the US to be labeled as such would only raise prices an average of $2.30 per shopper per year.
Infiltrating the anti-GMO movement
One week ago, we brought readers the scathing accusations made by NoMoreFakeNews.com’s Jon Rappoport against Just Label It and its founder Gary Hirshberg. Rappoport points out that Just Label It has been at the forefront of the anti-GMO movement, but brought few if any victories, only defeats. The independent grassroots news outlet warns Hirshberg is, ‘with the wrong people, on the wrong side.’
As evidence, the author points to Gary Hirshberg’s other activities and business interests. ‘Remember this name,’ Rappoport writes, ‘The Mellman Group.’ He goes on to ask, ‘Who conducted that poll for Just Label It and Hirshberg? A powerful PR agency based in Washington DC: The Mellman Group.’
‘Who has The Mellman Group represented?’ the author asks, ‘Get a load of a few of its clients: Coca Cola. Nestle. Pepsico. The FDA. The World Bank. Do these names mean anything special to you? Coca Cola, Pepsico and Nestle were major funders AGAINST passage of the GMO-labeling initiatives in Western states.’
After reminding readers that the World Bank and the FDA have also been at the forefront of the pro-GMO craze, the author asks, ‘How incredibly bizarre was it to go to The Mellman Group for a good poll that would determine the future course of the anti-GMO movement in America? Stupid? Crazy? Naïve? Or intentional?’
Infiltrators, sabotage, false labeling, and the battle for mandatory GMO labeling on the state level versus a ban on GMO labeling on the national level suggests the fight over GMOs is getting real hot real fast.