Originally published September 9 2014
Big Food tripled spending this year to stifle growing GMO labeling movement
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) It is something that, as an American and a consumer, ought to outrage you: Big Food companies spending tens of millions of dollars just to keep information from you -- to prevent you from knowing all that there is to know about a substance, or substances, that could be harming your health, as well as the overall health of the American agricultural industry.
As Reuters reported recently, Big Food, which opposes mandatory labeling of anything manufactured with genetically modified organisms, spent nearly three times what they spent in all of last year in the first six months of this year to keep GMO-labeling laws from becoming reality (or attacking those that have already been put on the books, like Vermont's GMO-labeling law). That amounts to $27 million in the first half of 2014 -- all to keep you in the dark.
The anti-GMO-labeling effort is being echoed by an increasing number of "interested" parties, but it has been led primarily by the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), which has spread millions of dollars around to "interested" parties (think lawmakers) to kill labeling bills.
The GMA has been joined by mega-corporations and mega-biotech firms like Coca-Cola Co. and PepsiCo Inc., as well as Monsanto and DuPont, all of which spent heavily "on GMO labeling-related lobbying, according to a report issued by the Environmental Working Group [EWG]," Reuters reported.
The EWG examined and analyzed disclosure forms from the lobbying activities of the anti-GMO-labeling groups and companies, in addition to other policies. Here is what Reuters reported, based on the EWG's findings:
Coca-Cola spent $4.8 million through the second quarter of this year; PepsiCo spent $2.34 million; DuPont spent $2.4 million, while Monsanto spent $1.08 million, according to the report.
You should be upset that someone is trying to prevent you from knowing what's in the foods you eat
In all, opponents of GMO labeling reported more than $15.2 million in lobbying expenditures for the second quarter of this year, which brings the six-month lobbying expenditure total for all of this year to $27.5 million. That figure compares to $9.3 million disclosed in lobbying expenses by Big Food and Big Agri-biotech companies all of last year, the EWG -- a non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C. -- reported. The EWG supports GMO labeling.
What is more astonishing -- and pathetic -- is the disparity in spending between those trying to keep you uninformed and those groups who are trying to inform you. According to the EWG's analysis, supporters of GMO labeling reported just $1.9 million in lobbying expenditures for the first half of this year, a figure that is only slightly more than the $1.6 million spent in all of 2013.
No doubt, the rises in expenditures reflect the fact that a growing number of Americans, through their representatives (mostly on the state level) have begun pushing for the very same kinds of labeling laws for GMOs that is required of virtually every other ingredient in food.
But there is also interest on the federal level; anti-GMO-labeling forces have spent heavily to support a measure introduced by U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kansas. His measure, if passed and signed into law, would block states from passing their own legislation requiring GMO labeling.
'More independent research is needed'
As Natural News reported, in May, Vermont became the first state to pass a mandatory GMO-labeling measure that does not require any other trigger to become law. But an additional 20-plus states are considering similar legislation, and they include Oregon and Colorado, both of which have a GMO-labeling measure on the November ballot.
Consumer groups and pro-labeling lawmakers say that the jury is far from decided on the health and safety of GMOs, contrary to what anti-labeling forces have said, and as such, shoppers have a right to know what GMOs are and if they are in the foods that they are buying.
These groups also noted that accelerated pesticide use that is associated with GM crops, as well as pesticide residue on foods containing GMOs, are also health concerns. And just last year, a group of respected international scientists called for more independent research on GMOs.
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