In secret documents that I uncovered in November, the Grocery Manufacturers Association (aka food industry lobbyists) laid out its five-point plan for opposing the labeling of foods containing genetically-modified organisms or GMOs. First on the list: “To oppose all state efforts that would impose mandatory labels” including state legislation. With more than 20 states having introduced state bills to require GMO labeling, the junk food lobby has its work cut out for it. But they’ve wasted no time as the 2014 legislative session gets underway, starting with targeting the New Hampshire capital.
Posts Tagged ‘GMO labeling’
The food lobby wants a voluntary federal approach to GMO labeling, but we should let the states have their way, for now.
Those advocating for improvements to our broken food system have, of late, had little to crow about. However, in recent years, a growing movement to label foods made with genetically modified organisms (GMOs) has begun showing real promise. While the food industry continues to make unsubstantiated and deceptive claims that GMO labels would be confusing or increase food costs, polls show that more than 90 percent of Americans favor GMO labeling. And the states are listening. At least 20 states have proposed legislation requiring that genetically engineered foods be labeled. Read rest at Al Jazeera America ….
Big Food Recycles its Lies and Dirty Tricks in California to Fool Washington State Voters into Rejecting Labeling Initiative
The final result from Washington State’s ballot initiative to label genetically-engineered foods was painfully close. A mere two percentage points (38,000 voters) made the difference between yes and no. Similarly, last year in California, the Yes side lost by a narrow margin. Also in both states, early polling showed a strong lead, which was then chipped away at by a barrage of ads from the No campaign. Lying underneath this same pattern is an ugly industry play book that explains how voters can change their mind so easily.
Internal documents from the Grocery Manufacturers Association reveal height of corporate chutzpah. Industry’s solution to GMO labeling is to: “Pursue statutory federal preemption which does not include a labeling requirement.”
With the disappointing results now in from I-522, the initiative in Washington State that would have required labeling of genetically-engineered food (aka GMOs), the looming question is, what’s next? At least for the junk food lobby, that answer in painfully clear: stop this state-level movement at any cost. In today’s New York Times, Stephanie Strom reports on the dirty details contained in industry documents that I obtained from the Washington State attorney general’s office in the wake of a lawsuit brought against the Grocery Manufacturers Association for illegally concealing donors to the No on 522 campaign.
“This is the largest amount of money ever concealed in an election,” says Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson, as tobacco-style tactics by likes of PepsiCo and Nestle are revealed in Washington State’s lawsuit against the Grocery Manufacturers Association over GMO labeling fight.
Just a few weeks ago, attorneys for the No on 522 campaign were feeling rather smug when a lawsuit filed against them by a group called “Moms for Labeling” was dismissed. As I wrote last week, consumer class action attorney Knoll Lowney sued the No on 522 and the Washington DC-based Grocery Manufactures Association (lobbyists for major food corporations) for not disclosing the donors behind GMA’s $7 million-plus donation to stop I-522, which would require genetically-engineered foods to be labeled. The judge threw out that case on a technicality.
But then, Big Food’s arrogance got the best of them.
Attorney General Forces Junk Food Lobby to Obey Washington State Law and Disclose Donors to No on 522
Earlier this week, the Washington State attorney general sued the Grocery Manufacturers Association for violating lobbying disclosure laws by hiding the identity of its individual members making donations. Today, GMA waved the white flag. Here are the donors and how much they are spending to keep consumers in the dark. Stay tuned for more.
Effort to Hide Brand-Name Corporations Opposing GE Food Labeling Lands in Court
October 16 update: The Washington State attorney general’s office has filed a lawsuit against the Grocery Manufacturers Association, saying the trade group “illegally collected and spent more than $7 million while shielding the identity of its contributors” to the No on 522 campaign, in violation of state disclose laws. Read the complaint here.
In the final weeks leading up to Election Day, the debate over measure I-522 in Washington State is getting even uglier. As I recently explained, the Grocery Manufacturer Association, the nation’s largest trade group for the processed food industry, has been flexing its muscle to oppose the labeling of genetically-engineered food, both at the federal and state levels. Now, a lawsuit brought by a non-profit called “Moms for Labeling” alleges that GMA crossed the line by not properly disclosing who is behind the whopping $7 million-plus the trade group has donated to the No on 522 campaign so far.
Confused by the exemptions in Washington State’s 522? Here is why they make sense.
Lobbyists for leading pesticide and junk food companies aren’t very creative, at least when it comes to fighting labels on genetically-engineered foods. The current effort Washington State against labeling is looking strikingly similar to last year’s in California. The No on 522 campaign even recycled the colors in their logo. (See No on 522 v. No on 37.) In another illustration of déjà vu, the opposition in Washington State is trotting out the argument that voters should reject the measure because it contains a few exemptions.
While the food movement has been gaining steam in recent years, tangible policy wins have been sparse due to by powerful industry lobbying. One significant victory that appears within reach is the labeling of genetically engineered foods. The narrow loss last fall of Proposition 37 in California has inspired 26 other states to propose similar measures, including Washington, the only state with a ballot measure in November’s election.