GMO Labeling Laws Face Off Against Big Food Efforts to Confuse Consumers

Are GMO Labeling Laws the Antithesis of Affordable Food? This Coalition Wants You to Think So

Opponents of GMO labeling laws are making one last-ditch effort to push against mandatory labeling before Vermont’s mandatory GMO labeling laws go into effect in July, with a six-figure ad campaign against GMO labeling laws in individual states. The campaign spins the anti-labeling agenda as a pro-affordable food issue.

Anti-labelers have united in creating the Coalition for Safe Affordable Food, an organization that counts over 400 state and national members, including American Crystal Sugar, the Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative, and the California Citrus Mutual. The coalition is also supported by such brands as General Mills, Land O’Lakes, and Hormel.

“A national solution is needed to prevent a patchwork of 50 different state laws,” General Mills told the Star Tribune, a national solution that would eliminate the possibility of individual state GMO labeling laws, such as Vermont’s.

The Star Tribune reported that the anti-labeling campaign created by the coalition would run on network and cable television in and around Washington, D.C.

“Consumers deserve a uniform standard for labeling food,” a female narrator says in one video ad. “As Congress stalls, harmful state laws are being passed that threaten family farmers, increase food prices by $500 per family, and hurt Americans already struggling to afford food.”

Many pro-label advocates say that the solution is to push for nation-wide, non-discriminatory labeling, rather than a nation-wide ban on GMO labeling laws. One such advocate is Scott Faber of Just Label It, who says, “We’ve urged the food industry to work with us on on-package disclosure that gives information in a way that does not disparage GMOs.”

This could include such labels as SmartLabel or another simple label, such as the one recently adopted by Campbell’s soup.

Vermont is currently set to be the first state to enforce mandatory GMO labeling, with legislation that was signed in May 2011 and declared constitutional in April 2015, despite attempts to the contrary.

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GMO free apple image via Shutterstock

Emily Monaco is a food and culture writer based in Paris. Her work has been featured in the Wall... More about Emily Monaco