Thursday, August 23, 2012

List of food companies that hide GMOs

A shopper walks down an aisle in a newly opened Walmart Neighborhood Market in Chicago. (photo: Jim Young/Reuters)
A shopper walks down an aisle in a newly opened Walmart Neighborhood Market in Chicago. (photo: Jim Young/Reuters)

   Reader Supported News | Perspective   

By Cate Woodruff
Reader Supported News
22 August 12

nknown to most Americans, many US food companies, which manage to keep their GMO ingredients under wraps, are joining forces to beat back Proposition 37, a bill which will require simple labels on food identifying genetically engineered products and ingredients. The ballot initiative from Right to Know will be presented to voters in California's November election.

Agribusiness and biotech companies Monsanto, Dupont, Cargill, Dow, Bayer, BASF and others have put up nearly $25 million to defeat the GMO labeling initiative.

Big Ag companies have a vested interest in GMO seeds, and the pesticides and herbicides they use in tandem. GMO cotton, soy, sugar beets and corn, which are manipulated to make sweeteners and fats along with other additives like high-fructose corn syrup and soy lecithin, are in ready-made food, snacks, condiments, juice, soda and cereal. Many companies pushing these products into the marketplace prefer to hold profits high and keep consumers in the dark. Labeling these products would affect close to 80% of processed, non-organic food in the US.

Sunny Delight, Kellogg's, Bumble Bee Foods, Bimbo Bakeries, Campbell Soup, Land O'Lakes, Hormel Foods, Dole Packaged Foods, Del Monte Foods and Ocean Spray Cranberries, to name a few, have all joined the anti-labeling coalition to defeat Prop. 37, as well as little-known companies like Knouse Foods, who makes applesauce and apple juice under the Musselman's, Lucky Leaf, Apple Time, Lincoln and Speas Farm brand names.

As many companies have done, PepsiCo not only refuses to reveal its GMO ingredients, but in packaging products from its five divisions, Pepsi-Cola, Frito-Lay, Gatorade, Tropicana and Quaker, it uses purposely misleading language such as "natural" or "all natural" to entice the health-conscious buyer.

Familiar "health food" brands funding the attack on GMO labeling such as Kashi, Silk, R.W. Knudsen, Horizon Organic and others may surprise consumers. The Cornucopia Institute has put together a shopper's guide with a poster illustration of companies supporting GMO labels in the right column and companies funding the effort to defeat the label initiative in the left column.

The Alliance for Natural Health USA quotes Norman Braksick, president of Asgrow Seed Co., a subsidiary of Monsanto, who told the Kansas City Star in 1994, "If you put a label on genetically engineered food, you might as well put a skull and crossbones on it." ANH USA goes on to say, "And that's precisely what Big Food is so afraid of. Consumers will generally avoid GMOs if they can, and they won't buy foods containing them. Can you imagine the consumer outrage if the labels on their favorite 'natural' foods suddenly declare that their ingredients are genetically engineered?"
It is deception in marketing and lack of transparency that has motivated a people's movement for years, pressuring the Food and Drug Administration to create definitions and label GMO products.

In November, California voters will decide whether labels will be required for food and drink containing DNA that has been manipulated by scientists. If the bill becomes law in California, it could catch on in other states as well.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports, "At least 18 states, including California, have tried to pass similar laws through their legislatures and failed. This time, however, the measure made it to the statewide ballot with 1 million signatures. Recent polls show the proposal, Proposition 37, winning by a 3-to-1 ratio, although opponents have raised more than $22 million - $4.2 million from agricultural giant Monsanto alone ... The showdown in California is being watched closely by food activists throughout the country ... The proposition has the support of organic trade groups and consumer groups that say people have a right to know if the food they're eating contains genetically modified material - particularly when the long-term health impacts are unclear. Proponents say research shows risks ranging from allergies to organ damage."

Reuters reports, "Money is flowing in from around the country and opposition fundraising is outpacing that of supporters by a factor of more than eight-to-one, according to filings with the California Secretary of State," and that it "might be a close battle."

Brands that have donated in support of labeling GMOs for consumers are Amy's, Baby's Only Organic, Dr. Bronner's, Eden, Lundberg, Nature's Path Organic, Nutiva, Organic Valley, Straus Organic and Uncle Matt's.

California Secretary of State Debra Bowen has put a reference list on her website of the Monsanto-led coalition against Prop. 37 and the financial contributions these companies have made.

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