(NaturalNews) What is it about a requirement to label foods containing genetically modified ingredients that so scares the food industry that they would do anything to prevent that from happening? Why are Big Agriculture and biotech giants like Monsantoso hell-bent on keeping you in the dark about what’s in the food they grow for you?
Whatever the reason, it must be a bombshell – or extremely diabolical – because these interested parties are certainly sparing no expense to keep the truth from the public.
As reported by the Environmental Working Group, a non-partisan environmental defense organization based in Washington, D.C., big food and associated interests spent an astounding $101.4 million last year lobbying lawmakers to oppose GMO labeling efforts.
And official Washington wonders why political outsiders are doing so well this year in the presidential races.
“As the fight over GMO labeling heats up this year,” EWG notes, “spending trends on Washington’s K Street point sharply higher.” K Street is essentially lobbyist row in the nation’s capital.
EWG reported further, and named names:
“The food companies that spent the most last year for anti-GMO-labeling legislation and other issues were Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Kellogg’s, Kraft Heinz Co., Land O’Lakes and General Mills. Disclosures filed by these companies reported $20.6 million in expenditures on K Street lobbying to fight GMO labeling and other legislative priorities.
“Since 2013, the same six companies have spent a whopping $47.9 million to lobby against GMO labeling, among other issues.”
Meanwhile, the Grocery Manufacturers Association – a trade group representing food makers that was among the earliest to file suit against the state of Vermont, after it became the first state in the nation to pass a GMO-labeling law – spent $10.5 million in lobbying expenditures, according to filing disclosures, primarily for anti-labeling efforts.
An EWG analysis of GMA’s lobbying disclosure data found that since January 2014 it had hired nearly three dozen lobbyists and spent $2.8 million on lobbying exclusively against GMO labeling legislation.
In summary, the food, farm and biotech industries, since 2013, have disclosed that they’ve spent $192.8 million on lobbying efforts to prevent federal GMO labeling laws from passing, as well as other issues.
That’s not chump change, and it means that the food and biotech industries really don’t want us to know what they’re putting in food – so much so that they are spending about the same to prevent labeling as they would have to spend to add GMO ingredients to labels (which is what they say they oppose – the expense of adding the labeling).
EWG reported that the amount spent on anti-label lobbying by big food and trade groups rose sharply over the past year, with the 2015 total exceeding $100 million for the first time – a steep increase over the $66 million spent in 2014 and $25.4 million spent the previous year.
The environmental non-profit reported further that it’s “analysis is based on documents filed with the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives and the Secretary of the U.S. Senate. It counted filings that mentioned GMO labeling legislation among various policy issues and not those that made no reference to the topic.”
Since Vermont enacted its GMO-labeling requirement, two additional states – Connecticut and Maine – have also passed laws requiring food makers to include GMO ingredients on ingredient labels. The law is scheduled to take effect in Vermont July 1; the laws in the latter two states are to take effect when additional states in the northeast pass GMO labeling laws as well. A further 17 states are also considering such measures.
Big Food and biotech firms are backing legislation introduced by Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kansas (a major farm state), which passed the House last year on a vote of 230-45. Critics call it the DARK Act – dubbing it the “Deny Americans the Right to Know Act.” It was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Pat Roberts, another Kansas Republican, in early February.
“Roberts’ version of the DARK Act would bar states from enacting laws to require GMO labeling and make it harder for companies like Campbell’s to make voluntary GMO disclosures,” EWG reported. Also, “Pompeo’s version would also block state laws prohibiting ‘natural’ on advertising and labels of GMO foods, and make it virtually impossible for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to set up a mandatory national GMO labeling system.”
Written by J. D. Heyes
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