Monsanto’s push to block the labeling of genetically modified ingredients

FoodFacts.com has been reporting quite consistently on GMOs because we understand the concerns our community has expressed in this regard. Today, we visited the Monsanto blog and found some very interesting information we wanted to share with you.

Proposition 37 will be coming up for vote in the state of California this coming November. If voted in, the proposition will require manufacturers clearly label genetically modified items on their products ingredient lists. As you might imagine there are many voices in the food industry trying to sway consumer opinions regarding Proposition 37, and, of course, Monsanto is at the top of that list.

Their blog expresses their support for No on 37: Coalition Against the Deceptive Food Labeling Scheme. That’s a coalition of California farmers, food producers, grocers and retailers that have joined forces to oppose Proposition 37. They refer to the labeling of GM ingredients as a “warning label” … FoodFacts.com understands it differently. GM ingredient labeling is information consumers are currently denied and therefore, are not making food choices based on all the available product information. We have fairly clear labeling of other ingredients and nutritional information that allow grocery shoppers to understand whether or not a particular food product fits their dietary requirements. So we’re not quite sure how labeling GM ingredients qualifies as a “warning”.

From the Monsanto blog: “Consumers have broad food choices today, but could be denied these choices if Prop 37 prevails … Interestingly, the main proponents of Proposition 37 are special interest groups and individuals opposed to food biotechnology who are not necessarily engaged in the production of our nation’s food supply. They are gearing up a campaign of misinformation.” This also confuses us. Labeling in no way denies consumers food choices. It simply allows them to make more educated decisions about the foods they purchase.

More from the blog: “Hundreds of organic or certified non-GM products are available for consumers who prefer these products. This approach offers choices for all consumers and does so without the risk of confusing consumers who are satisfied with the products they know, trust and can afford.” While it’s true there are a wide variety of organic/certified non-GM products out there, the quantity of those available products pales in comparison to the non-organic/non-GM products stocked on grocery shelves.

“Leading proponents of Proposition 37 blatantly describe foods containing GM ingredients as untested and unsafe. This is simply untrue. Beneath their right to know slogan is a deceptive marketing campaign aimed at stigmatizing modern food production. While we respect that some people may choose to avoid GM ingredients, it is wrong to mislead and scare people about the safety of their food choices. The California proposal would serve the purposes of a few special interest groups at the expense of the majority of consumers.” Monsanto seems to believe that because there have only been links found between health and safety concerns of GM ingredients that there really aren’t any. Those links, in their opinion, need further investigation in order to warrant any action.

Sadly, FoodFacts.com found the language used in the blog fairly similar to the rhetoric regularly used in politics worldwide. It is peppered with phrases designed to sway the opinions of readers to their side of the argument. We know this argument will heat up in the months to come as November is right around the corner. And in addition, we’re sure that other states will base similar propositions off of the results of the Proposition 37 ballot in California. Please read more here: http://monsantoblog.com/2012/08/14/taking-a-stand-proposition-37-the-california-labeling-proposal/