Monsanto supported GMO labeling in Europe, but not in US

Sunday, September 16, 2012 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
Tags: GMO labeling, Monsanto, Europe

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(NaturalNews) By far the biggest opponent to California's Proposition 37, the upcoming ballot initiative that would require genetically-modified (GM) foods to be properly labeled, is biotechnology giant Monsanto, which has already forked over at least $4.3 million towards efforts to kill the bill. But a little more than a decade ago, Monsanto was actually leading the charge in promoting GMO labeling in the U.K., where the company actually ran advertisements in favor of food ingredient transparency.

"Before you buy a potato, or any other food, you may want to know whether it's the product of food biotechnology," said one Monsanto ad that ran in the U.K. following the European Union's (EU) approval for mandatory GMO labels back in 1997. "We have complete confidence that our food crops are as safe and nutritious as the standard alternatives," it added, attempting to make the case through marketing means that GMOs were nothing about which people should worry.

Monsanto actually ran several different promotional campaigns around the turn of the century in the U.K. that explained to consumers how they would soon begin noticing the labeling changes on food packages. These campaigns were specifically designed to alert the public to "be aware" of the presence of GMOs in food so they would be fully informed as to what they were buying. Monsanto, in other words, was apparently very proud of its biotechnological developments at that time, and wanted everyone to know about them.

"[The campaign] ran in 1998-1999, was in the U.K. only, and was supportive of efforts by retailers to position their products with their customers," said Tom Helscher, a Monsanto spokesman, to Mercury News.

Here is an image of one of the Monsanto U.K. ads that was handed out to British consumers at grocery stores and food retailers:

Monsanto supported GMO labeling in UK, but opposes it in US?

Fast forward to 2012; however, and Monsanto is doing everything it can to stop GMO labeling laws from being enacted in California or elsewhere in the U.S. Why Monsanto pushed so heavily in favor of GMO labeling in the U.K. a little more than a decade ago, but is now so vehemently against GMO labeling in the U.S., is not entirely clear. But it likely has something to do with the dozens of GMO safety studies that have since emerged linking biotechnology to organ damage, reproductive problems, autoimmune disorders, and cancer.

It also probably has something to do with the fact that Monsanto's pro-GMO labeling ads in the U.K. arrived after GMO labeling laws had already been enacted across Europe. If GMOs were going to be labeled anyway, why would Monsanto not attempt to spin the situation and make it appear as though the company not only approves of GMO labeling, but also endorses it? Such tactics are common among corporations.

The only problem is that Monsanto is, at this moment, quickly sinking into an obvious mire of hypocrisy as the public learns that the company actually supported GMO labeling before it opposed it. Whatever best suits the corporate giant's own interests; in other words, is the position it is going to take at any given time. And this is why it will be no surprise when Prop. 37 passes on November 6 in California to learn that Monsanto is once again shifting gears in support of GMO labeling, complete with outrageous claims that GMOs are safe and identical to real food.

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