Showing posts with label GMO. Show all posts
Showing posts with label GMO. Show all posts

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Dis-Honest Tea CEO in Hot Water? Why Organic Brands Must Dissociate Themselves from Junk Food Industry

An 1890s advertisement showing model Hilda Cla...
An 1890s advertisement showing model Hilda Clark in formal 19th century attire. The ad is titled Drink Coca-Cola 5¢. (US) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Dr. Mercola

Two years ago, Seth Goldman sold a significant portion of Honest Tea—the organic beverage brand he co-founded—to Coca-Cola.
As you probably know, Coca-Cola has donated millions of dollars to anti-GMO labeling campaigns to make sure genetically engineered ingredients remain hidden. Meanwhile, Goldman, a self-proclaimed activist who is still CEO of Honest Tea, claims his company is for transparency in labeling.
The conflicting interests between Honest Tea and Coca-Cola appear to have resulted in false statements that are anything but transparent. Could these public statements by Goldman constitute an SEC violation, considering these statements may have reassured concerned customers to continue purchasing organic products whose profits were used to fight the consumer's right to know?

Is Coca-Cola and/or Honest Tea Guilty of SEC Violation?

In a September 3, 2013 article in the Washington Post,1 Goldman states that"after internal discussions, Coca-Cola will not be directly lobbying against a similar effort in the state of Washington, although it is a funder of trade associations arguing against the labeling."
Fast-forward a couple of months, to when the Grocery Manufacturers Association of America (GMA) was caught red-handed in a money-laundering scheme aimed at protecting the identity of its anti-GMO labeling donors during the Washington campaign.
Once the GMA was forced to reveal where the money for its anti-labeling campaign came from,2, 3 Coca-Cola Company was is shown right there on Washington's official political disclosures, front and center, as the fifth largest contributor, having thrown $1.5 million into the pot!
So, did Coca-Cola lie to Goldman, leading him to make a false statement? Or did he lie, knowing that Coca-Cola was really planning on laundering its donations to the Washington anti-labeling campaign? This way, no one would know that Goldman lied, and that Coca-Cola paid big bucks to squash GMO labeling yet again.
If you're wondering why these are newsworthy questions, it's because executives making false or misleading statements about their company, including false or misleading financial statements that benefit a publicly traded company, is an SEC violation4—it's pretty serious stuff.
And, from a more personal standpoint, do you really want to support a company that lies right to your face about such an important issue as whether or not they willspend that money that you gave them to prevent you from learning what's in their products?
Besides the legality of making such false statements, it's just plain wrong. Goldman now says he's going to change Coke which is an interesting comment in itself, but it appears we should be far more concerned about major junk food companies destroying organics.

GMA Sues to Overturn Vermont's New GMO Labeling Law

The Grocery Manufacturers Association of America (GMA) consists primarily of pesticide producers and junk food manufacturers who are downright ruthless in their efforts to ensure subsidized, genetically engineered and chemical-dependent, highly processed junk food remains the status quo.
Most recently, the GMA has shown its true colors by suing Vermont5, 6 in an effort to overturn H.112—the first no-strings-attached GMO labeling in the US.
The bill was passed by an overwhelming margin,7 and Governor Peter Shumlin signed the historic bill into law on May 8. The law will require food manufacturers to label genetically engineered (GE) foods sold in Vermont, and prohibits them from labeling foods with GE ingredients as "natural" or "all natural."
The GMA's lawsuit claims that their members are going to end hunger with their pesticide-laden GMOs, but we already know that the problem with hunger is not production, it's distribution. There's more than enough food to go around; it's just poorly distributed.
So their worldwide rescue plan is to fatten up the developing world on high fructose corn syrup from GE corn, sugar from GE sugar beets, and trans fats from GE soybean oil or GE cottonseed oil – what a gigantic lie!

GMO Promises Fall Flat Again and Again... Because They're Not Based on Truth

The traits of GE plants require MORE water, not less, placing increasing pressure on areas already suffering from lack of potable water. Many GE plants also produce their own internal pesticides. This was meant to reduce pesticide requirements, but instead, these plants require more pesticides than ever before—just to keep up with the proliferation of resistant pests and weeds!
For example, Bloomberg8 recently reported that "BASF, the world's biggest chemical maker, plans to produce 50 percent more dicamba weedkiller in Texas to keep pace with anticipated demand from a new generation of genetically modified crops." 
Dicamba—this is the weedkiller that has been linked to non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, a type of blood cancer. And Texas is gearing up to dump 50 percent more of it on its crops in the near future. How is this benefiting anyone's health and well-being? The list of failed GMO promises goes on and on... Countries that recognize these facts and risks are even being more or less blackmailed into accepting GE crops, especially if they're in need of aid. El Salvador is one such example.9

GMOs Have Labeling Requirements in More Than 60 Countries, But Not in the 'Land of the Free'

The words "Contain GMOs" are required on labels in 64 other countries around the world—a fact the GMA lawsuit neglects to mention. It is truthful information, and just like added flavors must be labeled "natural or artificial," and juice must state if it is from concentrate, whether or not an ingredient is genetically engineered falls under truth in labeling. 

To take it a step further, it prevents fraud. Free market principles require certain understandings. If you label a product "salmon," a buyer and seller understand what salmon is.
If you splice eel genes into salmon, it is now sEELmon, or some-such-thing. It's no longer plain, regular old salmon. If you continue to mislabel this eel-spliced fish as salmon, the seller is committing fraud. Labeling GMOs—transgenic plants and animals—is a truthful right of the consumer. 

We consider non-labeled transgenic products to be fraud that the federal government has allowed based on "substantial equivalence"—a term invented to monopolize and patent life between a few gigantic corporate interests.

Largest Boycott EVER, Now in Progress!

Joining the Grocery Manufacturers Association of America in this lawsuit against Vermont are the Snack Food Association (SFA), International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), and the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM). These are deep pockets, my friends! On June 12, Organic Consumers Association's National Director, Ronnie Cummins responded to the news by calling for a nationwide boycott of ALL GMA member brands and products, saying:10
"Today's move by the Grocery Manufacturers Association to prevent Vermont from requiring food companies to disclose the truth about what they put in the billions of dollars' worth of food they sell to consumers is a desperate attempt to protect corporate shareholder profits at the expense of consumers' rights and health.
More than 60 other countries have either banned GMOs, or require mandatory labeling of foods that contain them. Consumers in the U.S. have every reasonable right to the same information that consumers in other countries have about foods and ingredients that have not been subjected to independent, pre-market safety testing.
Beyond the truth and transparency in labeling issue, every U.S. citizen should be concerned when a multi-billion dollar corporate lobbying group sues in federal court to overturn a state's right to govern for the health and safety of its citizens... The GMA's membership includes more than 300 companies in the business of selling junk food, pesticides and drugs.
The OCA today calls on consumers to boycott the products sold by all of those companies, including the organic and natural brands whose parent companies are members of the GMA. We also call on consumers to support those companies that demonstrate solidarity with consumers by withdrawing their membership support from the trade association. Marketing statistics show that boycotts impact sales, and that this is the best way for consumers to influence corporate decision-makers."

Please Support Vermont's Legal Defense Fund

To help Vermont defend its GMO labeling law against these multi-national giants, please also consider making a donation to the Organic Consumers Fund, which has been set up to raise funds for this purpose. The fund has also pledged $500,000 to help Oregon pass a GMO labeling initiative in November. As noted by the Organic Consumers Association:
"After years of good old-fashioned work, and playing by the rules, the grassroots labeling movement achieved its first real victory this year, when Vermont passed the first no-strings-attached law requiring mandatory labeling of foods containing genetically modified organisms.
But the rules mean nothing to the rich and powerful companies like Monsanto and Coca-Cola, who belong to one of the country's most powerful lobbying groups—the GMA. This is the moment of truth for the grassroots GMO labeling movement. If Monsanto and the GMA succeed in overturning Vermont's GMO labeling law, lawmakers in the other 29 states that are currently considering GMO labeling bills will drop them like hot potatoes.
We can't let that happen. Your donation today will help us defend Vermont, and pass GMO labeling in Oregon. Legal experts assure us that Vermont's labeling law will hold up in court. But we can't win in federal court unless we show up. And that means paying a legal team to defend what's rightfully ours. This battle is about your health, and the health of your environment. This battle is about the rights of states to pass laws to protect their citizens. This is our battle. And it's going to take all of us pulling together to win it."

Crazier Still—the 'DARK' Act

The GMA, whose 300-plus members include Monsanto, Coca-Cola, and General Mills, is also pushing a Congressional bill called the "Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2014."11 The bill, dubbed the "DARK" (Denying Americans the Right to Know) Act, would actually preempt all states from passing GMO labeling laws12.
They're actually trying to take away individual state's rights – which were encouraged by our constitution. The constitution was meant to prevent federal superpowers becoming corrupted, and from creating an authoritarian, fascist federal government. We've watched our individual and state rights deteriorate over many decades, succumbing to these enormous industry powers, and this is probably one of the biggest, most blatant overreaches yet.

Why Boycotting the Organic Elite Is Necessary to Protect the Future of Real Food

So take a moment to consider all of this: Coca-Cola is a member of GMA—and one of the biggest contributors to its anti-labeling efforts. This means that Coke is using money they make from Honest Tea to fight GMO labeling, and sue states that successfully pass their own labeling laws. AND, money from Honest Tea and other organic brands owned by big junk food manufacturers is also used to push a bill that will effectively BAN states from passing labeling bills in the first place!
It's completely outrageous! Furthermore, ALL of the organic elites are essentially providing funds to sue Vermont by being members of either the Grocery Manufacturers Association, the Snack Food Association, the International Dairy Foods Association, or the National Association of Manufacturers.  
So HOW exactly is Coca-Cola or any of the other organic elites helping organics? The answer is, they're not helping one whit. They're actually helping destroy and "bury" organics within the folds of a very opaque, very greed-driven, and decidedly anti-health—not to mention anti-freedom—industry.
This is why the GMA Boycott—aimed at boycotting every single product owned by members of the GMA,13 including natural and organic brands like Honest Tea—is so important. If you think that the GMA has any concern whatsoever for your health, your rights to make your own decisions, or your financial wellbeing, then think again. Its objections to GMO labeling are not aimed at protecting you from confusion, unnecessary complexities, or higher prices. The GMA is protecting the profits of their members, and those profits depend on widespread consumer ignorance!

Coca-Cola Is Front and Center of Nutritional Ignorance Campaign

Coca-Cola Company actually appears to have taken a center role in the fight to keep you as ignorant of nutritional facts as possible, and this effort is not restricted to genetically engineered ingredients. It applies to ANY ingredient in their products that have well-established dangers, such as high fructose corn syrup and aspartame.
Growing awareness of the health dangers associated with both diet and regular soda has caused soda sales to rapidly dwindle.14 Sales of carbonated beverages in general fell three percent in 2013, while diet Coke and diet Pepsi both dropped by nearly seven percent.15 Coca-Cola's strategy to regain its customers has included a number of ludicrous publicity stunts.
First, it rolled out an ad campaign encouraging people to unite in the fight against obesity by exercising more. Fortunately, most people saw the 2013 campaign as a poor attempt at damage control,16, 17 considering the overwhelming evidence linking soda consumption to obesity. Shortly thereafter, Coca-Cola launched another ad campaign. This time—in the misleading guise of a public service announcement18, 19 no less—they tried to assure you that diet beverages containing the artificial sweetener aspartame are a safe and healthy alternative to regular soda.20
Most recently, the soda industry funded a study that claims to confirm what theconflicting interests  industry has been saying all along—that drinking diet soda will help you lose weight.21, 22 Not only that, but drinking diet soda will make you lose more weight than drinking no soda at all—a claim that flies in the face of research findings spanning some 20 years! This study was in part funded by the American Beverage Association, and naturally, Coca-Cola is one of its most prominent members.23
So, not only does Coke not want you to understand the facts about the role of high fructose corn syrup in obesity, it also does not want you to be aware of the health dangers associated with the artificial sweetener aspartame (or that aspartame actually makes you pack on more pounds, faster, than regular sugar), and it does not want you to know that it probably uses genetically engineered corn in its beverages.
Coca-Cola uses profits from its organic brands to keep you in the dark about these nutritional facts in a number of different ways; through misleading advertising, money-laundering schemes to hide campaign funds, and "research" that supports whatever crazy notion they want you to have about their product...

Other Ways Coca-Cola Misleads You

Speaking of misleading advertising: The US Supreme court recently decided24 that POM Wonderful can sue Coca-Cola for misleading consumers; its 59 ounce containers of “Pomegranate Blueberry Flavored Blend of 5 Juices” actually only contains two teaspoons of pomegranate and blueberry juice. More than 99 percent of the product is apple and grape juice.
And, speaking to the reality of consumers being mislead, when Coca-Cola’s attorney claimed that “only unintelligent consumers might be duped” by the label, Justice Kennedy replied: “Don’t make me feel bad because I thought that this was pomegranate juice!” In this case, it’s quite clear that Coca-Cola was out to deceive you. If the label says pomegranate juice, why would you assume it’s something else entirely?
Coke says it is “tackling obesity,” when it really should accept a large portion of blame for causing obesity. Coke is nothing but a Marlboro in liquid form when it comes to shortening your life. These artificially sweetened low-calorie drinks essentially just equates to making a smaller cigarette... At some point in the future, I predict these junk food purveyors to confront the same obvious problems the tobacco company faced. In the meantime, they will do anything to rake in funds from making people sick. One thing’s for sure though; diet soda is a fraud, and implying that you can lose weight by drinking diet soda is a scam.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Vermont Passes GMO Labeling Bill

Soybeans in a plantation
Soybeans in a plantation (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
By Dr. Mercola
In a recent article titled "Monsanto GM Soy is Scarier than You Think," Mother Jones1 went into some of the details surrounding our genetically engineered (GE) food supply.
Soybeans are the second-largest food crop grown in the US, and more than 90 percent of it is genetically engineered. Some have been modified to withstand the herbicide Roundup (i.e. Roundup-Ready soy), while other varieties have been designed to produce its own pesticide, courtesy of the Bt gene (so-called Bt soy).
As noted in the featured article, organic soy production is miniscule, accounting for less than one percent of the total acreage devoted to soy in the US. The rest is conventionally grown non-GE soy.
Even if you don't buy soy products such as tofu or soy milk, you're undoubtedly consuming plenty of soy if you're eating any processed foods and/or meats from animals raised in confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs). A large portion of the GE soy grown actually ends up in your meat, as soy is a staple of conventional livestock feed. Much of the rest ends up as vegetable oil.
According to the US Soy Board, soybean oil accounts for more than 60 percent of all the vegetable oil consumed in the US—most of which is used in processed foods and fast food preparation. As noted in the featured article:2
"Given soy's centrality to our food and agriculture systems, the findings of a new study published in the peer-reviewed journal Food Chemistry3 are worth pondering.
The authors found that Monsanto's ubiquitous Roundup Ready soybeans... contain more herbicide residues than their non-GMO counterparts. The team also found that the GM beans are nutritionally inferior."

New Research Questions Quality and Safety of GE Soybeans

Three varieties of Iowa-grown soybeans were investigated in this study:4
  1. Roundup Ready soybeans
  2. Non-GE, conventional soybeans grown using Roundup herbicide
  3. Organic soybeans, grown without agricultural chemicals
All of the Roundup Ready soybean samples were found to contain residues of glyphosate, which is the active ingredient in Roundup, along with its amino acid metabolite, aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA).
On average, GE soy contained 11.9 parts per million (ppm) of glyphosate. The highest residue level found was 20.1 ppm. Meanwhile, no residues of either kind were found in the conventional non-GE and organic varieties.
In terms of nutrition, organic soybeans contained slightly higher levels of protein and lower levels of omega-6, compared to both conventionally-grown non-GE and GE soy. Similar results were found in a 2012 nutritional analysis of GE corn, which was found to contain 13 ppm of glyphosate, compared to zero in non-GMO corn.
It may be worth noting that the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) actually raised the allowable levels of glyphosate56 in oilseed crops such as soy, from 20 ppm to 40 ppm just last summer. It also raised the levels of permissible glyphosate contamination in other foods—many of which were raised to 15-25 times previous levels!

Why Glyphosate Contamination Matters

Nearly one BILLION pounds of Roundup are used each year for conventional crop production around the globe, but genetically engineered (GE) crops see some of the heaviest use. This is especially true for Roundup Ready crops, which are designed to withstand otherwise lethal doses of this chemical.
The issue of glyphosate contamination is well worth considering if you value your health. Recent research suggests glyphosate may in fact be an instrumental driver of many chronic diseases, and in my view, avoiding glyphosate is a major reason for buying organic, in and of itself.
Labeling GMOs could help you select products that are less likely to have heavy contamination, although you'd also avoid many other hazardous chemicals used in conventional farming by opting for products labeled 100% organic.
It's important to understand that these glyphosate residues CANNOT be washed off, as the chemical is actively integrated into every cell in the plant. Dr. Don Huber, who is one of the most prominent scientific experts in plant toxicology, firmly believes glyphosate is FAR more toxic and dangerous than DDT. A number of other studies have raised serious questions about the safety of glyphosate, including but not limited to the following:
  • Research published in the International Journal of Toxicology7 in January revealed that glyphosate-based formulations like Roundup pose a threat to human health through cytotoxicity and oxidative effects. Such formulations were also found to be lethal to human liver cells
  • A 2012 study8 found that 3 ppm of Roundup in water induced morphological changes in frogs
  • A German study9 on poultry, published in 2013, showed that glyphosate tends to be more harmful to beneficial gut bacteria like Lactobacillus, while pathogenic bacteria like Salmonella entritidi tend to be largely resistant to the chemical. Subsequently, the microbial balance tends to shift toward pathogenic overgrowth when exposed to glyphosate, and can predispose the animal to botulism

Victory! Vermont Passes First Effective GMO-Labeling Bill

On April 16, 2014, the Vermont Senate passed the first no-strings-attached GMO labeling bill (H.112) by an overwhelming margin—28-2. The bill sailed through a House/Senate conference committee and was approved by the House of Representatives on April 23. 

Governor Shumlin has already indicated he will be signing the bill into law—which will require any genetically engineered food sold in Vermont to be labeled by July 1, 2016.10 Food served in restaurants, alcohol, meat, and dairy products would be exempt from labeling however. Foods containing GMO ingredients would also not be allowed to be labeled "natural."
"I am proud of Vermont for being the first state in the nation to ensure that Vermonters will know what is in their food,"Governor Shumlin said in a statement. "The Legislature has spoken loud and clear through its passage of this bill. I wholeheartedly agree with them and look forward to signing this bill into law."
This is truly an historical moment that will likely reverberate across the US in coming years. As noted by Ronnie Cummins in a recent Huffington Post article:11
"Strictly speaking, Vermont's H.112 applies only to Vermont. But it will have the same impact on the marketplace as a federal law. Because national food and beverage companies and supermarkets will not likely risk the ire of their customers by admitting that many of the foods and brands they are selling in Vermont are genetically engineered, and deceptively labeled as 'natural' or 'all natural' while simultaneously trying to conceal this fact in the other 49 states and North American markets. As a seed executive for Monsanto admitted 20 years ago, 'If you put a label on genetically engineered food you might as well put a skull and crossbones on it.'"
The Burlington Free Press12 recently ran an excellent article on how the Vermont GMO labeling bill was won. I would highly encourage you to read it in its entirety, to get a real-world view of just how effective a grassroots campaign can be. It really boils down to letting your representatives know what you want. Despite the threat of a lawsuit from food manufacturers, Vermont legislators realized that their constituents were serious about wanting GMOs labeled. And they voted accordingly. Indeed, the chemical technology and food industry knows this, which is why they've fought tooth and nail to stop any and all GMO labeling efforts in the US. They've even threatened to sue any state that passes a labeling law—a threat taken seriously by Vermont.

Vermont Braces for Legal Challenge

Vermont Senate agreed to establish a state defense fund to pay for legal costs associated with defending the law against any legal challenge by the food industry, which will undoubtedly be spearheaded by the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA). It's unlikely that the industry would win such a legal challenge, however. As reported by the Burlington Free Press:13
"Rep. Teo Zagar, D-Barnard, told House members that... changes the Senate made will help the state prevail in court. 'This bill has been re-engineered to be more resistant to legal challenge,' he said."
As you may recall, after getting caught laundering money and narrowly defeating the Washington labeling campaign, the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) sued the state of Washington, arguing they should be allowed to hide their donors—which is a direct violation of state campaign disclosure laws—in order to "speak with one voice" for the interests of the food industry.14 I subsequently named the GMA "the most evil corporation on the planet," considering the fact that it consists primarily of pesticide producers and junk food manufacturers who are hell-bent on violating some of your most basic rights, just to protect their own profits.
The GMA was initially forced to reveal their donors, but has since removed their online membership list—again hiding their members to prevent consumer awareness of who is behind this radical front group. You can find the cached members list on web.archive.org15 however. Not surprisingly, Pepsi, Coke, and Nestle—top purveyors of chronic ill health—were the top funders trying to hide their identity during the Washington State GMO labeling campaign.
There's no doubt that the GMA—at the behest of its members—is trying to end the right of consumers, and control US food policy to ensure that subsidized, genetically engineered and chemical-dependent, highly processed junk food remains the status quo. Think about it: the primary GE crops are corn, soy, and sugar beets. And the primary ingredients in processed food are high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), hydrogenated vegetable oils (trans fats), and refined sugar. Add in all the pesticides and hazardous fertilizers used in this chemical agriculture system, and you have the perfect formula for death, disease, and environmental destruction. This is the business model the GMA is protecting—at your expense.

Oregon Up Next

The next major GMO labeling initiative will take place in Oregon, which will come up for vote this fall. Jackson County, OR, is also considering a proposal to ban GE crops from being grown altogether. According to an April 17 report in the Statesman Journal,16 supporters of the measure, which includes more than 100 local health professionals, have raised just over $180,000, while opponents have collected nearly $857,000. According to the article:
"Jackson County voters only get one chance to consider the issue. In September, the Oregon legislature passed a bill prohibiting local jurisdictions from regulating genetically modified crops and seeds. Jackson County's measure was exempt from the legislation because it already had qualified for the May 20 ballot...
'The out-of-state chemical companies flooding the county with money to try to defeat 15-119 are doing it for one reason: genetically engineered crops mean they sell more herbicides that end up in our county and our bodies. They sell a product that puts our health at risk and they just want to sell more of it,' said Dr. Matt Sheehan. 'Measure 15-119 makes good sense from a public health perspective and that's why I'm voting yes,' said Dr. Lanita Witt, who is also co-owner of Willow-Witt Ranch. 'Why would we want crops that put our family farmers at risk while significantly increasing the herbicides in our food, water and kids?'"

Chemical Technology Industry Counters by Trying to BAN GMO Labeling

Besides Oregon, there are no less than 66 active bills and ballot initiatives in 27 different states, aimed at getting GE foods labeled. The GMA is trying to make an end run to head off this avalanche by cooking up legislation that would effectively BAN individual states from passing their own food labeling laws. As recently reported by Reuters,17 Kansas congressman Mike Pompeo has introduced a bill that would amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and nullify all state efforts to label GE foods.
"The bill, dubbed the 'Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act'... is aimed at overriding bills in about two dozen states that would require foods made with genetically engineered crops to be labeled as such," Reuters reports.18 "The bill specifically prohibits any mandatory labeling of foods developed using bioengineering... Makers of biotech crops and many large food manufacturers have fought mandatory labeling, arguing that genetically modified crops are not materially different and pose no safety risk. They say labeling would mislead consumers. Pompeo reiterated those claims, stating that GMOs are safe and 'equally healthy' and no labeling is needed." [Emphasis mine]

Ridiculous Example of How Far a Company Will Go to Silence Dissent

General Mills, one of the large junk food manufacture members of the GMA, recently showed just how far the industry is willing to go to restrict your rights to object to their disease-promoting and inaccurately advertised wares. On April 17, the New York Times19 reported that General Mills was amending its legal policies so that if you interacted with the company, you would have to forfeit your right to sue them, and agree to submit any future legal complaint to "informal negotiation" or arbitration20 General Mills spokesman Mike Siemienas told the New York Times how the new policy would work:
"For example, should an individual subscribe to one of our publications or download coupons, these terms would apply."
Although Siemienas insisted that simply "liking" their Facebook page, for example, would not prevent a consumer from suing them, Julia Duncan, director of federal programs at the American Association for Justice (a trade group for trial lawyers) noted that the terms were so vague and "so exceptionally broad that it may be possible anything you purchase from them would be held to this clause." Imagine that! The news quickly spread on online communities like Facebook and Twitter, where many expressed disgust and distrust over General Mills' new terms. Mere days later, the company announced it was retracting the controversial changes to its terms of use. In an update, the New York Times21 wrote:
"'Because our terms and intentions were widely misunderstood, causing concerns among our consumers, we've decided to change them back to what they were,' Mike Siemienas, a company spokesman, wrote in the email. 'As a result, the recently updated legal terms are being removed from our websites, and we are announcing today that we have reverted back to our prior legal terms, which contain no mention of arbitration.'"

Take a Stand Against Industry Bullying

As you can see, we really cannot afford to let our guard down for even a moment, lest our rights be stripped away from us by greedy corporations that couldn't care less about public health or consumer rights. Vermont isn't the only state that has had to muster up a backbone to face a potential legal challenge by the chemical technology industry, which really does not want the food industry to be forced to give up on GE ingredients.
Rhode Island and Florida have also introduced GMO labeling laws this year, which would open them up to such industry bullying tactics. No matter where GMO labeling laws are considered, you can be sure of one thing—GMA lobbyists will be present, spewing falsehoods and threatening lawmakers. The Organic Consumers Association has created an Action Page where you can voice your opinions with the lawmakers in your state. Please tell them to stand firm; ignore the threats from the food industry, and do what's right for the people they were elected to represent.

Vote with Your Pocketbook, Every Day

Remember, the food companies on the left of this graphic spent tens of millions of dollars in the last two labeling campaigns—in California and Washington State—to prevent you from knowing what's in your food. You can even the score by switching to the brands on the right; all of whom stood behind the I-522 Right to Know campaign. Voting with your pocketbook, at every meal, matters. It makes a huge difference.
I-522 poster
As always, I encourage you to continue educating yourself about genetically engineered foods, and to share what you've learned with family and friends. Remember, unless a food is certified organic, you can assume it contains GMO ingredients if it contains sugar from sugar beet, soy, or corn, or any of their derivatives.

If you buy processed food, opt for products bearing the USDA 100% Organic label, as organics do not permit GMOs. You can also print out and use the Non-GMO Shopping Guide, created by the Institute for Responsible Technology. Share it with your friends and family, and post it to your social networks. Alternatively, download their free iPhone application, available in the iTunes store. You can find it by searching for ShopNoGMO in the applications. For more in-depth information, I highly recommend reading the following two books, authored by Jeffrey Smith, the executive director of the Institute for Responsible Technology:
For timely updates, join the Non-GMO Project on Facebook, or follow them on Twitter. Please, do your homework. Together, we have the power to stop the chemical technology industry from destroying our food supply, the future of our children, and the earth as a whole. All we need is about five percent of American shoppers to simply stop buying genetically engineered foods, and the food industry would have to reconsider their source of ingredients—regardless of whether the products bear an actual GMO label or not.

Enhanced by Zemanta