Investing in Secrecy

How the Grocery Manufacturers Association is committed to preventing you from knowing what is in your food.

          Grocery Manufacturers Association, which represents companies like Pepsico, Kraft, Kelloggs, Monsanto, Dow AgroSciences and Land O’lakes has taken another step in their efforts to prevent you from knowing GMOs are in your food. GMA is well known for contributing millions to defeat mandatory labeling efforts in California.  It is also responsible for half of the $22 million dollars raised by opponents of labeling in Washington State.  According to a document obtained by Politico, GMA  is pursuing a national labeling standard for GMOs. That sounds like what we want, right? Wrong. Let’s take a closer look.

          According to the document released by Politco, Grocery Manufacturers Association is set to present legislation which will require mandatory GMO labeling, only if the genetically modified food presents a health or safety risk. However, GMOs have never been human safety tested, not by the companies who create them, the FDA or any other regulatory agency.  The policy on GMO labeling, set by the FDA is that the food is significantly equivalent (or mostly the same) and therefore is not required to be labeled or human safety tested. Because these foods are not labeled in the United States, as they are in dozens of other countries, the American people do not know they are eating them and as a result, GMOs are not even part of the conversation regarding health concerns.

          The document also indicates the GMA is set to support a national voluntary labeling scheme which would require FDA to develop a framework and certification for the labels. This move is reminiscent of the Rbst labeling scheme where, when dairies won the right to voluntarily label their dairy products as Rbst free, but as a result of a lawsuit, the label must contain the additional disclaimer indicating the FDA has found no significant differences between milk containing Rbst and milk without the hormone.

           This developing legislation, reportedly supported by GMA, would preempt any state labeling initiatives passed by voters in individual states. It is no secret that the GMA, lobbyists for biotech companies and food manufacturers have been working overtime to prevent labeling in 26 different states where legislation has been introduced in recent years. The GMA knows there is an inevitability regarding GMO labeling. They know the movement is growing and the voices are getting louder. They know there will be repercussions for manufacturers who are slow to respond to the growing concerns about GMOs. After spending millions to prevent it, GMA didn’t decide to push for federal mandatory labeling because they have at long last decided you have a right know.  They have merely come up with a new scheme to mitigate the potential damage to the corporations who pay GMA to represent their interests by implementing impotent labeling laws, while preventing the American consumers from having a real say in what that labeling looks like.


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