Lobbyist group seeks to OUTLAW GMO labeling

By: Sonya Sandage
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National lobbying firm “GMA” (Grocery Manufacturers Association) represents Fortune 100 food companies like Kraft, General Mills, Monsanto, PepsiCo, and Kellogg’s. Back in October, they were highlighted for donating $5 Million to defeat a law that would label genetically engineered foods in the state of Washington. The donation, along with their previous donations, brings their total to $7.2 Million. The funds went to the “NO to 522” Campaign. The Grocery Manufacturers Association was the largest donor to the “NO to 522” Campaign.

gma

In the state of Washington, the battle over GMO labeling heated up to the point of lawsuits. A local non-profit called “Moms for Labeling” filed a lawsuit against the “NO on 522” campaign in September, accusing its main donor, the GMA lobbyists, of laundering donation money from its members to conceal where the money came from. “Moms for Labeling” is accusing the “NO on 522” Campaign of concealing the identity of its donors.

Grocery Manufacturers Association is doing what thousands of lobbying firms that cover K St. and downtown DC. http://www.gmaonline.org/about/contact/

Now that the Grocery Manufacturers Association got negative attention via a lawsuit for violation of the Public Disclosure Act by laundering their “NO on 522” donations through shell organizations with pleasant names such as “Teachers against 522,” they have moved on to new strategies.

The GMA is pushing legislation through the federal government to outlaw GMO labeling laws enacted on the state level. The GMA is also seeking to have the FDA declare GMO foods as “natural” to allow food companies to put the label “All Natural” on genetically engineered corn, wheat, soy, dairy, and other food products. http://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/files/2013_1205_gma_letter_to_fda_81204.pdf


Regulation is costly and sometimes ineffective, so citizens always have the option of simply being educated on what’s available at the grocery store, and making informed decisions that go beyond a cursory glance at a food label. However, many households have one or two working parents. Non-profits representing parents argue that they don’t have time to always 100% research these issues, and they should be provided with a fair disclosure on a food label so they know what they’re buying.

Many of the non-profits that are fighting Monsanto and GMO giants are related to progressive movements. Progressive and liberal movements tend to want tighter regulations on businesses that they feel prey on the citizenry. However many Libertarians, who are small-government proponents, appear to sympathize with progressives and liberals on the GMO disclosure issue, even though more government regulations is anti-Libertarian. No matter the political leanings, many in the US have taken issue with Monsanto and other food corporations impact on farmers, their evasiveness with consumers, and their refusal to acknowledge lab results showing GMO’s have harmful health effects. GMO’s have been, and will continue to be, a hot button issue across political spectrums.

 

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Sonya Sandage

Sonya Sandage is a financial industry professional, and has worked for the nation's largest banks and investment wirehouses for 12 years as Private Wealth Manager. Originally from Florida, and a graduate of UF, she now resides in Washington, DC. Her goal is to get more Americans interested and engaged in their nation's governance.

  • https://twitter.com/JordanDJohnson Jordan

    This makes me sick. They’re force-feeding this poison to us. 26 countries have outlawed GMO’s. Whats our excuse? And then we wonder why the cancer and autism rates are so high. I’d bet GMO’s along with the pesticides, hormones, and antibiotics are a large part of it.

    • LoneWiseMan

      Poison? Cancer and autism rates? Don’t be a moron.

      The people up-voting Jordan’s idiotic, unscientific, and nonsensical post are equally oblivious.

      • ccreamer_22

        Got to love it when people call others a moron and then have nothing to back it up. Idiot is usually the word that comes to mind.

        • LoneWiseMan

          The onus isn’t on me to disprove his nonsensical statements. He has to back up his garbage with factual data that proves CAUSATION (note: I didn’t say correlation).

      • casterofpeals

        http://www.democraticunderground.com/1002803435

        this is just a forum discussion, but it has many well cited reports and studies from doctors and scientists in posted links.

        there is credible evidence that gmo’s aren’t healthy at all

        • LoneWiseMan

          lol…

          India reports?

          They also have people who can live without eating and gain all of their daily “energy” from just sun-gazing!!

          • https://twitter.com/JordanDJohnson Jordan

            Ethnocentrism much? Because the report comes from India it must not be credible huh? Wow.

          • LoneWiseMan

            One second while I link a report from Uganda that says GMO is 100% safe…

          • https://twitter.com/JordanDJohnson Jordan

            So you’re defending your ethnocentrism with more ethnocentrism. Bravo. lol this guy is ridiculous…

          • casterofpeals

            did you scroll through the whole forum? there were far more links that were even more impressive.

            but as for the india one, it was just reporting on a study from quebec, so who cares if they also reported on cooky stuff;

            to discount the noncooky with the cooky in an individual website, is akin to discounting the noncooky with the cooky found in the internet–neither is reasonable.

            let that same principle address your statement on democraticunderground. but, your opinion doesn’t carry much weight, because it’s an opinion; i trust empirical data… that’s why i won’t post simple opinions opposing gmo’s, as some are doing on both sides of the debates here.

          • LoneWiseMan

            I didn’t post an opinion on the subject at hand. I said his opinion was unfounded, which it is.

            Until you have definitive, CAUSATIVE proof that GMO food causes problems, you have absolutely nothing.

            And like I said before, I’d sooner cut off a testicle than read the trash on DemocraticUnderground, a hive of oblivious morons living in dream worlds.

            The problem with “evidence” is that it’s subject to humans. When people link evidence that suggest GMO is fine, some people scream “MONSANTO!!!”

          • casterofpeals

            what you posted indeed meets the definition of the word “opinion,” (should we honor it’s very definition).

            GMO foods have proven toxins, that are proven to go into the bloodstream, and toxins are proven to harm. the first 2 facts were proven at the “Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Sherbrooke (CHUS) in Quebec” as reported in that indiatoday website:

            http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/toxin-from-gm-crops-found-in-human-blood/1/137728.html

            and the fact that toxins do harm is well understood, but i can get you info on that, too.

            as for your statements on democraticunderground, i say this:

            “It is the mark of an educated mind to entertain a thought without excepting it”–Aristotle.

            peace

      • vanya

        You may be “lone”, but you’re not very wise, man.. Corporate food, like corporate ANYTHING today has lost sight of and respect for its most important asset.

        Quiz, for you, O’ wise man… you know what asset that is? Five seconds… tick, tick ,tick.. well?? Hmm.. you need a hint? It’s sitting in the room with you.

        OK, I’ll help you this time. It’s the “consumer”. Whether or not you’re wise enough to ask what type of experimentation is being done with your food is immaterial. The fact is that HUGE, HUGE, HUGE food giants don’t give a rat’s ass about the long term effect of Frankenfoods on health. Neither do they care about the massive tumors grown in rats during GMO diet testing. See, they don’t even care about the rats.

        The same giants who own and operate directly or by proxy the Big Pharma industry and other Beltway Oligarchy crony corporates own and operate the wonderful food labels we learned to trust decades ago. Unfortunately, shareholders became the most important consumers in their lives.. the consumers of their STOCK, not the traditional consumer. When market control and profit become the motives for production in the business of food or anything else, and when you own legislators with the bribes they get get from the lobbyists who are camped out around the Beltway, the highest price is paid by the “consumer”. Not the guy who buys the stock, but the mother who buys the science experiments in crop production, artificial flavorings and yield boosting schemes paid for by the Beltway Boys who are addicted to control and manipulation of the industries they participate in.

        That woman in the grocery store has NO CLUE what she is picking up and setting in her cart because she learned to TRUST the labels she chooses from her mother and grandmother.

        O’ wise man, you ain’t so wise if you even question the movement to expose GMO experimentation for what it is. It’s FOOD, man, and I would hope you would be sharp enough to think about what you’re putting in your spoon or on your fork.

        No matter, because the CONSUMER, globally, is going to be kicking some serious ass on the GMO business, one country at a time. Got a story for ya.. did you hear the one about the shiploads of corn that got rejected at the Chinese port because it was GMO? Did you hear the collective GROAN by American growers the following month because corn prices are going through the floor? Another.. did you hear about the Russian ban on GMO seed corn? Did you hear the one about the BURNING, in the field, by government officials, of GMO crops in Hungary?

        The free market will put GMO in its place. It’s about the awareness of the consumer, and it’s happening fast.

        Wake up and smell the coffee.. but don’t drink it until you verify its origin.

        By the way, coffee is globally the most heavily treated crop using pesticides. Drink organic.. You too Wise man

        Then, wise man, do your research.

        • https://twitter.com/JordanDJohnson Jordan

          Hahahaha you put him in his place. Well said.

        • LoneWiseMan

          What an absurdly idiotic reply. You sound like a brain-dead hippy that’s high on shrooms, randomly capitalizing words, ranting about “the man,” and completely directionless with your “points.”

          I never said I’m against the labeling of GMO as GMO, but I am against morons opening their uneducated, clueless mouths about “POISONS, TOXINS, OH MY” without understanding what they’re talking about, let alone having facts back it up.

          p.s. The free market barely exists at this point due to nanny-stating morons stepping in and wanting the government to act subjectively.

      • https://twitter.com/JordanDJohnson Jordan

        Oh I’m sorry what was I thinking? LoneWiseMan has all the answers, you guys. Pay me no mind.

        • LoneWiseMan

          I don’t have all the answers. Anyone claiming they do (you) are the fools.

          People are living longer today more than any other point in history.

          If I wanted to thwart any weak correlation (not causation) argument you spew, I could simply point to that fact.

          • https://twitter.com/JordanDJohnson Jordan

            I never claimed I had all the answers. Reread what I said. I made an educated guess. You clearly have not seen the effects of GMO consumption on lab rats. And increased life expectancy can be attributed to MANY different factors such as medical advancement, education, etc. GMO’s only became commercially available in 1994. We have yet to see the long term effects on human populations. And the fact is companies like Monsanto are doing their best to cover up and deny any indication of negative longterm effects. That doesn’t seem fishy to you? But I along with the others whom you’ve deemed oblivious are under the impression those effects are becoming apparent.

            Please learn how to disagree without name calling and insulting the intelligence of the one(s) you disagree with. It only diminishes your arguments in that it makes you seem immature and lacking of any substantive points.

          • LoneWiseMan

            No, you didn’t make an educated guess.

            You outright stated that it was “POISON AND CAUSES CANCER/AUTISM!!!”

            Yes, Monsanto is almost as evil as it gets in terms of power/monetary influence, but that doesn’t mean GMO = death.

          • https://twitter.com/JordanDJohnson Jordan

            Uh no. I said, ” And then we wonder why the cancer and autism rates are so high. I’d bet GMO’s along with the pesticides, hormones, and antibiotics are a large part of it.” See that little part where I said “I’d bet.” What does that mean LoneUnwiseMan? Does that sound like a definitive claim?

            I no longer see the point in battling you about this. Some people just don’t believe fat meat is greasy. Continue to eat your GMO’s. I hope you grow to be big and strong :)

          • LoneWiseMan

            “They’re force-feeding this poison to us. And then we wonder why the cancer and autism rates are so high.”

            Delusional.

  • WHY

    I think I’ve been eating GM foods for years. What’s wrong with them?

    • casterofpeals

      well you’re in the same boat I was, one that most still are in.

      here is a forum full of good sources on the topic (this means doctors and scientists and studies, not prisonplanet stuff lol, although they have some well sourced things, too):

      http://www.democraticunderground.com/1002803435

      Shalom,
      Josiah

      PS. just because it may be unhealthy, I disagree with making any food producer do any labeling. but, the GMA wants to do this: “The GMA is also seeking to have the FDA declare GMO foods as ‘natural’ to allow food companies to put the label ‘All Natural’ on genetically engineered [food]. and that is also wrong, it is fraud.

      • WHY

        Shouldn’t every organically grown carrot have a warning sticker on it, “Beware the e.coli!”?

        • casterofpeals

          HAHA. i see the libertarian sarcasm ;)

  • Matthew Scott

    One CAN’T WIN in political economy games. This is wasteful and stupid.
    Freedom or poverty is the decision here…not to outlaw one thing or
    another. America has NO freedom capital left to withdraw from
    anymore…it’s gone. It’s over. Get rid of political economy and go to
    productive economy, or go to total poverty and slavery.

  • Kurt Bradley

    Here’s the issue in my mind. While I am not one for government intervention if it can be avoided, I also understand that at times it is necessary.

    Why is it necessary in this case? Because consumers are *not equipped* to determine the origin of what they eat by looking at it. Further, there is NO product sold in a grocery store that does not already have a label on it.

    So, why does the GMA want to avoid the GMO label? It’s not about the added cost of putting the label on (there’s already a label they can add a symbol to) and it’s not about the expense of determining the origin of a product (the producers know if their product is GMO or not). It’s ONLY about keeping us from knowing what’s in our food.

    In truth, the labeling should go beyond a mere GMO label, it should also tell us which pesticides and chemicals were used. What they FEAR is that an informed public will choose non-GMO food and chemical-free food over the stuff they are trying to pass off in virtual secrecy.

    The labels cost them nothing, their honesty (or lack of it) may cost them everything. Nobody is asking them NOT to produce it; they are only being asked to label it.

  • texashale

    my position is this. I do not want the government to outlaw gmo’s. I jus want them to require a label so people can choose for themselves whether they want to purchase it or not. the government has been active in hiding the fact, which is wrong.

  • Matt Gay

    Why do we need the government to enforce labels on food as a sales pitch? We need to use taxpayer money to reduce what people think is healthy to a tagline? Why do we have the government involved in this at all? Blows my mind. How about whatever tagline you want to put on your food is fine. If their claim is false, it would be pretty easy to defame them publicly. There, market solution to market problems.

    • Tannim

      Because one of government’s roles is to prevent fraud, and the GMO producers excel at fraud.

      • Matt Gay

        And how are they not trying with this legislation, trying to perpetuate their fraud?

        • Tannim

          That’s the corruption of the system by the crony corporatists.

          • Matt Gay

            That’s the point. We cannot expect government to be virtuous. Corporations use the government to make everything inconvenient for others, but good for them. Government’s role may be to protect fraud, but they have proved time and time again to be untrustworthy, to be malicious, and to be easily swayed by a bigger wallet. All I see in this article is statists arguing against statists about which statist solution is the best.

    • https://twitter.com/JordanDJohnson Jordan

      I’m with you when it comes to anything but food. Food is not something to play with. Companies should not have the right to put false information on their labels nor should they have the right to not label known toxins/poisons. What you say would be all well in good if we lived in a country where everyone buys from their local farmer’s market. But alas we don’t. This reminds me of the days when people thought cigarettes were healthy. Thanks to PSA’s/education and labeling, we all know otherwise.

      • Matt Gay

        So if government is not involved in food regulation, people are going to sell terrible quality food and lie about it? There cannot be private regulation organizations? Government came out of nowhere and condemned cigarettes? If we really want to save lives, lets ban cars. Automobile accidents kill more people than anything else. If we ban them, we save lives. Unsafe driving is nothing to mess around with. Do you see how silly that sounds? Libertarians should be about more freedom. Market solutions to problems we still face. Not about passing legislation that obfuscates the real problems, and diminishes freedom.

        • https://twitter.com/JordanDJohnson Jordan

          I wouldn’t go that far. All I’m saying is when I go to the store I want to know what is in the product I’m buying and I want honesty. It would be great if all companies were ethical and informed consumers of harmful ingredients but we both know all of them will not. Labeling. That’s all I’m asking for.

  • Wayne D.

    Vote with your dollar. Don’t buy the GMO crap. Is that what you feel is best for you and your children? Why would anybody want inferior, mass produced food that has been modified to make the plant itself a pesticide and resistant to their herbicides and fungicides, grown in mineral deficient soil and fertilized with chemicals? These corporations have enough money to convince you of anything. For me, I’ll grow my own from heirloom seeds that I save and from locally known producers. “Let food be your medicine and your medicine be your food” Hypocrates

    • https://twitter.com/JordanDJohnson Jordan

      I agree but without legislation requiring labeling how do you know GMO food from the natural food? If Monsanto and its collaborators are allowed to label their poison as “Organic” or “all natural” how is the average consumer able to tell the difference?

  • Gregory Alan of Johnson

    When will folk wake-up and start reading ingredient labels? This is not aimed at those who do, like me.

    • Tannim

      I read labels. But what good is that if what’s in the food either isn’t labeled or isn’t labeled properly? The businesses’ privilege of trade secrets is trumped by my RIGHT to know what I’m putting into my self-owned body.

      • Gregory Alan of Johnson

        Wouldn’t that mean that you only buy foods that you know what’s in them?

        • Tannim

          As much as I can, but I also grow my own as the first option, too.

    • Dawn

      Do have any idea how many code words there are? For example, just check out this list of “ingredients that are or always contain MSG:

      http://www.truthinlabeling.org/hiddensources.html

      It’s totally unreasonable to expect people to keep up with all the code words, let alone the fact there is no differentiation whatsoever between conventionally grown and GMO.

      I want ‘TRUTH IN LABELING’, and that goes way beyond GMOs. I want to know that the plant was treated with glyphospahate, and instead of words like “maltodexterin” I want it to say, “0 nutrient corn based filler/texturizer (whether its GMO or not here)”.

      • Gregory Alan of Johnson

        That would mean you only eat foods that have the labels you want. That was the purpose of my comment, as it was aimed at folks that do not read labels.

  • Libertarian Non-GMOer

    This appears to be a grey area to many Libertarians but I think it is clear cut. The Federal Government should not help or hinder any player in a market by enacting regulations. That is up the the States. If a state wants GMOs labeled then that is their domain.
    It is too simple to say that Libertarians would rather keep the Government out of it. It depends on the level of government. The Feds are supposed to have very little power, and the States are supposed to legislate themselves.
    In the end I say vote with your dollars and act at a state level.
    We can’t do anything immediately about corrupt lobbyists/politicians in bed together. That’s for the long haul.

    • Dawn

      Have you considered that a “free market” is made freer by truthful labeling? And that legislating that monster corporations have the right to not disclose what their product actually is, actually impinges the free market, giving them the advantage of cheap, toxic materials, that 95% of consumers are totally oblivious to, and thus eventually destroying honest businesses?
      Or am I too altruistic in my imagining a free market where honesty and quality are valued? ;)

  • PartisanHacksHateFacts

    this is just a test

    redneck
    hardcore
    zionist

  • PartisanHacksHateFacts

    hmmm i see

    so when any other site (I.E. CNN) tries to tell you that it isn’t them (CNN) who is blocking your posts due to language; we can refer to this site for the truth

  • Linda Z

    These companies that try to hide important information from people that can negatively impact their health and well being are evil, plain and simple. They don’t deserve to exist or do business. We need to make their intentions known to the public- to boycott them and put them out of business. We have the power to do that- if we put our minds to it.

  • Tobe Rapturee

    “Suppression of truth in unrighteousness” is here.

  • Abe
  • Jacob

    great article!

  • Dude

    Barack Obama supported gmo and country labeling of all foods during his campaign.

  • Arleez55

    Although the information is necessarily timely and important, for which I thank you for posting, can we STOP with calling “…Libertarians, who are small-government proponents…” as you stated are NOT. They don’t care how big the government is as long as they control it. They have PORK in every bill and department that “they” control or that serves their interests, than Liberals or Progressives!

    • A.C.Ewers

      Please, remind me which section of government or department is controlled by libertarians?

    • berky

      uhhhhh…. what world are you living in? because the one I live in doesn’t contain Libertarians in control of any ‘bills’ or ‘departments’…