Money Can’t Buy the Truth about Food Labeling

GMOLabelPhoto: (cc) Chris Goodwin/Flickr, cropped and licensed under Creative Commons 2.0

by guest blogger Robyn O’Brien, author and former financial and food-industry analyst

The debate to label genetically engineered foods is heating up in the United States. In the absence of any legislation at the federal level, states are taking the initiative.

It’s not the first time that states have taken up such an initiative that the federal government won’t act on. Women’s voting rights started at the state level, too.  And when it comes to labeling genetically engineered ingredients, more than 30 pieces of legislation have been introduced in 20 states so far in this year alone.

Colorado and Oregon are currently on the front line of this labeling movement and the effort to bring transparency to our food. In no way is this more obvious than the record amount of money being spent by the chemical industry in these two states to defeat labeling initiatives. Campaign contribution records have been shattered as these chemical companies dump money into Colorado and Oregon.

Who held the previous records? The tobacco industry, which is fitting, as the tactics being used are the same. What are they trying to hide?

In Colorado, Monsanto has contributed $4.7 million, Dupont $3.04 million, Pepsico $1.6 million, Coke $1 million, Kraft $1 million—the list goes on to include companies like Dow Chemical at $300,000.

That’s a lot of money being spent that could have been put to better use: like parks and recreation, roads, schools, community gardens, labeling. It’s even more than Nike, Chevy, Ford, Sprint, Verizon, Walmart, and Target will spend on advertising combined over the same period. And out-of-state chemical companies account for half of the anti-labeling spending budget.

But it’s not just money that these companies are throwing at these states. They’re also lobbing misleading information and, in some cases, downright lies at them.

So the team in Colorado decided to deconstruct one of the anti-labeling commercials. What we found may shock you, it may surprise you, and it might make you laugh.

Share it, because with the labeling movement growing around the country, these very same tactics may soon be coming to a state near you.

In this changing landscape of health, where 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women are now expected to get cancer, while 1 in 13 children have a food allergies, Americans need to know more about the food that they are eating, not less. And they deserve to be told that our food now contains ingredients that have been genetically engineered by the chemical industry to withstand their chemicals.

All of the U.S.’s key trading partners have this information. It is competitive data. On top of that, other countries have actually been told that their food contains these genetically engineered ingredients by our own American food companies who label these ingredients on the products that they sell overseas.

We aren’t asking American food companies to reinvent the wheel, but to simply provide that same information to American families, too.

It’s time to label genetically engineered ingredients in the United States, as well, and let the free market decide.

Vote “Yes” on 105 in Colorado and “Yes” on 92 in Oregon, and join the movement that is happening around the country at www.justlabelit.org

robyn_obrienRobyn O’Brien is a former financial analyst who covered the food industry. You can learn more at www.robynobrien.com

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2 Responses to Money Can’t Buy the Truth about Food Labeling

  1. Alice Green October 30, 2014 at 2:02 pm #

    Many other Countries require food purchased from the USA to be labeled NON-GMO. If it is not labeled they will not buy it. So, of course, Monsanto and all the other big food companies happily label all their food with either NON-GMO or Contains GMO’s. So the lie they tell us about how they can’t afford to change the labels and how it makes the food cost more for consumers is not at all correct. They just know that if they spend enough money to make people afraid of “the cost” of labels, the voters will vote down our right to know what’s in our food. I am very allergic to GMO’s and have to watch everything I eat. Eating out is getting to be less available, only a few NON-GMO restaurants available. I only trust the food sold in my Vitamin Cottage store and I keep track of which food producing companies are true to the true Organic contents. We have the right to know but Big $$$ companies are scaring away the voters and buying away our rights. Thanks, Robyn, for all you are doing to try to help us get the word out.

  2. Ron Mitchell October 30, 2014 at 8:32 pm #

    Robyn, thanks so much for all you do to enlighten the public on these issues.

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