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Originally published December 22 2014

Deception: Major tortilla chip brand using 'No GMO' label on contaminated product

by Ethan A. Huff, staff writer

(NaturalNews) The nonprofit consumer advocacy group Consumer Reports has released a new report on genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) that warns of inadvertent deception and possible outright fraud in non-GMO claims that aren't certified by independent third parties such as the NON-GMO Project.

The popular tortilla chip brand "Xochitl Totopos de Maiz," according to the report, is actively selling tortilla chips all across America that bear a "No GMO" label, but that contain high amounts of GM corn. Tests conducted on six separate lots of the product revealed 75 percent or more GM corn content, despite labels to the contrary.

Xochitl selling conventional 'No GMO' tortilla chips that contain mostly GM corn

The report looked at more than 80 different food products packaged as "natural," certified non-GMO, non-GMO in claim only, and certified organic. The vast majority of the products panned out with 0.9 percent or less of GM corn and/or soy. But the Xochitl brand stood out as an impostor.

According to a letter sent by Consumer Reports to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Xochitl is engaging in deceptive business practices by claiming "No GMO" on its packaging - Xochitl is not certified by the NON-GMO Project - while selling a product that contains extremely high amounts of GMO content.

"All six samples of the Xochitl chips all had well over 0.9% GMO corn, suggesting that GE corn was used," reads the letter. "We found an average of more than 75% GE corn content from the six different packages we tested."

Organic Xochitl tortilla chips meet non-GMO standards

Xochitl also sells an organic line of tortilla chips that, according to Consumer Reports, contained 0.9% or less of GMO corn in tests, meeting the stated claim. But both this and the conventional product bear a "No GMO" label, despite the fact that conventional Xochitl tortilla chips still contain high amounts of GM corn.

Consumer Reports says it reached out to Xochitl with the findings and was told that the company was "baffled" by the test results. It says it uses a corn supplier that provides its own test results claiming non-GMO corn, which suggests that the Xochitl company itself might be a victim of fraud.

"We have no reason to believe that the company (Xochitl) is intentionally trying to deceive the public, but our test results indicate consumers may be misled to think they are getting a product without GMOs," adds the letter.

"Therefore, we are asking the FTC to investigate this matter."

Mandatory GMO labeling and testing necessary to avoid product violations

Based on these and other findings in the report, Consumer Reports is advocating for mandatory GMO labeling to avoid such problems. Cross-contamination and product mislabeling will only continue apart from improved regulatory and labeling standards that clearly define what a food product contains.

The same report found that the vast majority of American consumers support mandatory GMO labeling, despite the alleged failures of ballot initiatives in California, Washington, and Oregon. And nearly two-thirds of the American public mistakenly believes that the "natural" label implies that a product is GMO-free, even though nearly all products labeled simply as "natural" do contain GMOs, according to the report.

"Foods that are frozen, made from concentrate or homogenized are all required to be labeled. Why shouldn't products containing GMOs also be labeled?" said Jean Halloran, director of food policy initiatives at Consumers Union, in a recent statement.

"Shoppers are being misled when they buy products labeled 'natural' given their expectation that they are getting food that contains no GMOs."

The full Consumer Reports investigation in GMOs is available here:


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