The Noah Project

Rebuilding a sustainable world.


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Food Industry Hiding Behind GMA in Labeling Fight

Others have asked, and I agree, if GMO’s are as benign as the industry claims they are, why not label foods and let the consumer decide?  Instead “companies like Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, General Mills and Kellogg’s have thrown down plenty of cash to defeat various initiatives across the country, and the story isn’t any different in Washington state, where a new push to label GMO foods has been gaining momentum.”  Clare Leschin-Hoar exposes their tactics on the take part blog:

The major brands have been accused of hiding behind a trade association to lobby against the effort in an attempt to avoid customer backlash and a public relations nightmare.
Washington state’s Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed a lawsuit yesterday claiming the Grocery Manufacturers Association—which represents more than 300 household brands—has violated campaign disclosure laws. The group is accused of failing to form a political committee registered with the state’s Public Disclosure Commission after it solicited and collected nearly $13.5 million in contributions, spending $7.2 in efforts to a defeat ballot measure I-522, which would require genetically modified foods to be labeled. Continue reading


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Big Foods Takeover of Organics

How many times has something unique and forward thinking been co-opted, then destroyed, by people with no imagination, but a lot of money? Welcome to the Big Organics Industry.  I’ve posted the entire New York Times article about how Big Food has predictably and depressingly taken over organics and turned it into a profit center for themselves.

Has ‘Organic’ Been Oversized?

By STEPHANIE STROM

Michael J. Potter is one of the last little big men left in organic food.

More than 40 years ago, Mr. Potter bought into a hippie cafe and “whole earth” grocery here that has since morphed into a major organic foods producer and wholesaler, Eden Foods.

But one morning last May, he hopped on his motorcycle and took off across the Plains to challenge what organic food — or as he might have it, so-called organic food — has become since his tie-dye days in the Haight district of San Francisco.

The fact is, organic food has become a wildly lucrative business for Big Food and a premium-price-means-premium-profit section of the grocery store. The industry’s image — contented cows grazing on the green hills of family-owned farms — is mostly pure fantasy. Or rather, pure marketing. Big Food, it turns out, has spawned what might be called Big Organic.

Bear Naked, Wholesome & Hearty, Kashi: all three and more actually belong to the cereals giant Kellogg. Naked Juice? That would be PepsiCo of Pepsi and Fritos fame. And behind the pastoral-sounding Walnut Acres, Health Valley and Spectrum Organics is none other than Hain Celestial, once affiliated with Heinz, the grand old name in ketchup.

Over the last decade, since federal organic standards have come to the fore, giant agri-food corporations like these and others — Coca-Cola, Cargill, ConAgra, General Mills, Kraft and M&M Mars among them — have gobbled up most of the nation’s organic food industry. Pure, locally produced ingredients from small family farms? Not so much anymore. Continue reading


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Key summit set in genetically modified food label fight

Published in The Hill by Ben Goad:

Major players in the food industry have scheduled a crucial meeting for next week that could become a turning point in the regulatory battle over genetically modified foods.

Challenges to the use of biotechnology have created an “unprecedented period of turmoil” for food producers, the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) said in a letter circulated among trade groups that was obtained by The Hill.

“We have reached a pivotal point in this effort and believe now is the time to bring together a broad coalition to confront these challenges,” the GMA wrote in the letter, which invited CEOs and top industry officials to a Wednesday summit in Washington.

Just how the food industry might move forward appears up for debate. Though organizers of the GMA summit were tight-lipped, advocates and industry officials said the options could ultimately range from a coordinated attack against labels to acceptance of a national standard.

The GMA’s membership list includes more than 300 companies, including food giants Kraft Foods, Coca Cola and General Mills. The group declined to discuss the meeting or whether it would propose a particular strategy. Continue reading