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Grocery Manufacturers, biotech giants spend big bucks promoting GM salmon, voluntary GMO labeling laws

| | August 20, 2015
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Americans want a more transparent food system. Recent polling suggests Americans favor labeling that tells them exactly how and where their food is produced. And yet, several bills are currently moving through Congress that could make it much harder to learn about the source of our food.

These bills would prevent state and local governments from requiring labeling of GMOs. Food companies shelled out over $100 millionto promote and lobby for this legislation in the first six months of 2015 alone.

Businesses and trade groups promoting these policies say putting more information on food labels will send the wrong message about food safety, add costs, and pose barriers to trade. But good food advocates disagree. “We’re not saying anything’s unsafe,” says Environmental Working Group (EWG) policy analyst Libby Foley. “We’re saying it’s about consumer choice.”

So far this year, food and beverage companies have spent $51.6 million on a series of lobbying efforts to defeat GMO labeling laws, including the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015 (H.R. 1599.) According to a recent analysis by EWG, nearly a quarter of this money—$12.6 million—comes from just six companies: Coca-Cola, General Mills, Kellogg’s, Land O’Lakes, and PepsiCo.

Related article:  Strange bedfellows: American Academy of Pediatrics allies with Environmental Working Group, known for anti-science messages

Other big spenders in these efforts include the Grocery Manufacturers Association ($5.1 million); American Farm Bureau (nearly $1 million); and the National Restaurant Association ($2 million). Many state farm bureaus have also chipped in.

An additional $4.1 million has been spent so far this year by companies to promote genetically engineered salmon, with most of this coming from the Biotechnology Industry Association.

So where does this leave consumers? Right now, the only way to be sure the food you buy doesn’t contain genetically engineered foods is to seek out the USDA’s certified organic and Non-GMO Project‘s GMO-free label.

Read full, original post: Big Food is Spending Millions to Lobby for Less Transparency

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