Climate & Energy Blog

Rhetoric v. Reality: Junk food companies support labeling overseas…but not in the U.S.

Posted Oct. 22, 2013 / Posted by: Lisa Archer

The Grocery Manufacturers Association, the trade association representing Big Food in the U.S., is the top contributor to the campaign opposing GMO labeling in Washington State. However, four of its member organizations have been supportive of a consumer’s right to know in countries overseas, while opposing transparency in the U.S.

Example 1: Kellogg’s

RHETORIC: Kellogg’s Opposes A Consumer’s Right To Know In The U.S.

• Grocery Manufacturers Association CEO: Stopping GE Labeling Is “Single Highest Priority.” Prior to the vote on California’s Proposition 37, the CEO of the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), Pamela Bailey, declared at a meeting that stopping GE labeling was the group’s “single highest priority.” [Politico, 9/11/13]

• Kellogg’s Is A Member Of The Grocery Manufacturers Association. According to the GMA’s membership directory, Kellogg’s is a member of the organization. [GMA Member Directory, accessed 10/15/13]

• Kellogg’s Contributed Over $200,000 To The Grocery Manufacturers Association’s Efforts To Oppose I-522. After the Washington State Attorney General sued the GMA for failing to disclose the donors who funded their multi-million dollar contribution to the No on 522 campaign, the GMA finally revealed that Kellogg’s contributed $221,852 to fight I-522. [PDC, GMA Against I-522, C3, accessed 10/21/13 | Seattle Times, 10/16/13]

• The Grocery Manufacturers Association Is The Largest Contributor To The Campaign Opposing I-522. The GMA has contributed $7,222,500 to the campaign opposing GE labeling in Washington State. [WA State PDC, accessed 10/15/13]

• Kellogg’s Contributed Hundreds Of Thousands Of Dollars To Oppose GE Labeling In California. Kellogg’s contributed $790,700 to the campaign opposing Proposition 37 in California in 2012. [California Secretary of State, accessed 10/15/13]

REALITY: Kellogg’s Supports A Consumer’s Right To Know Abroad

• Kellogg’s Vice-President: Consumers “Want Transparency…If We Do Not Care About Their Interest, They Will Not Care About Us.” In October 2013, Ronald L McDermott, a Kellogg’s Vice-President, was quoted by The Times of India as saying: “Consumers are interested in knowing their food origin. They want transparency in the entire value chain. If we do not care about their interest, they will not care about us." [The Times of India, 10/9/13]

Example 2: Nestle

RHETORIC: Nestle Opposes A Consumer’s Right To Know In The U.S.

• Nestle Is A Member Of The Grocery Manufacturers Association. According to the GMA’s membership directory, Nestle is a member of the organization. [GMA Member Directory, accessed 10/15/13]

• Nestle Contributed Over A Million Dollars To The Grocery Manufacturers Association’s Efforts To Oppose I-522. After the Washington State Attorney General sued the GMA for failing to disclose the donors who funded their multi-million dollar contribution to the No on 522 campaign, the GMA finally revealed that Nestle contributed $1,052,743 to fight I-522. [PDC, GMA Against I-522, C3, accessed 10/21/13 | Seattle Times, 10/16/13]

• Nestle Contributed Over A Million Dollars To The Campaign Opposing GE Labeling In California. Nestle contributed $1,461,600 to the campaign opposing Proposition 37 in California in 2012. [California Secretary of State, accessed 10/15/13]

REALITY: Nestle’s Policy on GE Foods: “Listen To What The Consumer Wants.”

• Nestle Says Their Policy On GE Foods Is To “Listen To What The Consumer Wants.” Hans Johr, Nestle’s corporate head of sustainable agriculture, was quoted as saying: “We [Nestle] have a very simple way of looking at GM: listen to what the consumer wants. If they don’t want it in products, you don’t put it in them.” [Food Production Daily, 8/30/12]

Example 3: Heinz

RHETORIC: Heinz Opposes A Consumer’s Right To Know In The U.S.

• Heinz Is A Member Of The Grocery Manufacturers Association. According to the GMA’s membership directory, The H.J. Heinz Company is a member of the organization. [GMA Member Directory, accessed 10/15/13]

• Heinz Contributed Half A Million Dollars To The Campaign Opposing GE Labeling In California. The H.J. Heinz Company contributed $500,000 to the campaign opposing Proposition 37 in California in 2012. [California Secretary of State, accessed 10/15/13]

REALITY: Heinz Responds To Consumer Demands Abroad

• Heinz Recognizes Consumer Demands About GE Foods Abroad. In their company statement on GMOs, Heinz writes: “Heinz also refrains from using GMO ingredients in markets where consumers have expressed low acceptance of foods with GMO ingredients. […] Heinz recognizes worldwide customers’ differing views, concerns and perceptions about GMOs, and we will continue to be responsive to changes in consumer expectations and comply with regulatory and labeling requirements.” [Heinz, Statement On Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO), 2011]

Example 4: Monsanto

RHETORIC: Monsanto Opposes A Consumer’s Right To Know In The U.S.

• Monsanto Is A Member Of The Grocery Manufacturers Association. According to the GMA’s membership directory, Monsanto is a member of the organization. [GMA Member Directory, accessed 10/15/13]

• Monsanto Contributed Millions Of Dollars To The Campaign Opposing GE Labeling In California. Monsanto contributed $8,112,866 to the campaign opposing Proposition 37 in California in 2012. [California Secretary of State, accessed 10/15/13]

• Monsanto Has Contributed Millions Of Dollars To The Campaign Opposing GE Labeling In Washington State. Monsanto has contributed $4,834,411 to the campaign opposing Initiative 522 in Washington State this year. [WA State PDC, accessed 10/15/13]

REALITY: Monsanto “Fully Supports” GE Labeling In The U.K.

• Monsanto Ran Ads In The U.K. That Were Supportive Of GE Labeling. In the late 1990s, Monsanto touted its support GE labeling U.K., by running ads that read: “This is to inform you about the use of biotechnology in food. Monsanto fully supports UK food manufacturers and retailers in their introduction of these labels. We believe you should be aware of all the facts before making a purchase.” [The Seattle Times, 10/8/13]

Want another dose of reality? Learn more at YesOn522.com

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