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Originally published November 19 2014

Ben & Jerry's co-founder says GMO labeling costs food companies 'essentially nothing'

by Jonathan Benson, staff writer

(NaturalNews) The recent defeat of a proposed GMO labeling bill in Colorado, and the possible defeat of one in Oregon -- as of this writing, the Yes on 92 campaign to label GMOs in Oregon is roughly 5,000 votes away from a win (more on that here) -- hinged on the oft-repeated lie that mandatory labeling would increase food costs. But a major food producer says this isn't the case, and that labeling costs "essentially nothing."

Ben & Jerry's co-founder Jerry Greenfield discussed the matter with Democracy Now! during a recent interview, explaining that his own company supports the mandatory labeling of genetically modified organisms. Food producers, he says, routinely change the labeling on their products to meet regulatory requirements, for instance, or to adjust product ingredient lists, and it costs them almost nothing to do this.

"The giant food industry companies--Monsanto, some of the chemical companies--say... that it's going to add a huge cost to your food bills, which is simply not true," he stated. "They spend millions of dollars [emphasis added] trying to convince people that it's going to make your food more expensive, whereas, in truth, changing a label on a food package costs essentially nothing."

Complete transition to non-GMO won't raise price of Ben & Jerry's ice cream, either

Ben & Jerry's has long been a devoted advocate of the non-GMO cause, having helped pass H. 112 in Vermont, requiring that all foods containing GMOs be labeled starting in 2016. The company knows that honest labeling is a benefit both for food companies with nothing to hide and consumers alike, which is why it is now in the process of completely removing GMOs from all of its products.

This transition is expected to reach completion by the end of 2014, and just like the labeling issue, Greenfield says it won't raise the price of ice cream for consumers. In fact, it will likely increase demand for Ben & Jerry's ice cream, resulting in increased profits for the company and added momentum toward eventually achieving a GMO-free America.

"[Our] transition to all non-GMO ingredients is not going to raise the cost of a pint at all to a consumer," remarked Greenfield to Democracy Now! "So it can be done."

Help support GMO labeling and challenged ballot efforts in Oregon

Though the mainstream media has prematurely declared the measure defeated, Proposition 92 to label GMOs in Oregon is less than one-half of 1 percent away from passing. Oregon Right to Know says it is only 5,182 votes away from exceeding the 50 percent support threshold, with thousands of additional votes still to be counted.

Help is needed, though, to make sure that all the challenged votes are fully counted and confirmed. According to the group, some 13,000 votes have been rejected for technical reasons such as problems with the signature card or voter registration anomalies. But if all of these ballots are accounted for, chances are strong that Prop. 92 will pass.

"Almost always, these ballots are legitimate but don't count unless they can be remedied by the voter by Tuesday, November 18," explains Oregon Right to Know on its Facebook page, as shared by Massachusetts Right to Know. "Most of the 13,000 challenged ballots are Yes votes -- and counting them is likely to close the gap and win this race."

"Remedying thousands of challenged ballots is a huge job, from phone calls to canvasses to rental cars to transporting voters to their local elections offices. It's going to take an incredible funding surge to support the operation it will take to make sure every ballot is counted."

To learn more and lend your support, visit Oregon Right to Know's Facebook page:


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