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Labeling 'GMO' as 'Natural'?

Discussion in 'Nature/Habitat/Garden Corner' started by KTdid, Dec 28, 2013.

  1. KTdid

    KTdid Well-Known Member

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    The Grocery Manufacturers Association said it planned to petition the FDA to issue a regulation that would allow foods containing genetically modified ingredients to be labeled “natural.” ARE YOU KIDDING!

    Lately, the most heated part of that debate has been about genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, in foods and efforts by companies to market them as “all natural” — a term that has no legal definition but that many consumers equate with products that do not contain artificial preservatives, flavorings or colors.

    Early this year, Chipotle became the first national company to post labels on its Web site letting customers know which ingredients contain genetically modified organisms, whose DNA was manipulated in a lab. It lists soybean oil, white masa flour and corn products such as ground corn, corn germ and corn starch, and says it is trying to phase out the ingredients.

    In the opening scenes of a dystopian YouTube video gone viral, a scarecrow takes a job in the big city at a processed foods factory. All around him are signs that boast “All Natural” and “Farm Fresh,” but as he goes about his work he glimpses the machinery, chemicals and other scientific wizardry that go into creating the food.

    “Come with me and you’ll be in a world of pure imagination,” Fiona Apple sings on the soundtrack.

    The controversial video, produced by Denver-based Mexican fast-food chain Chipotle, has captured more than 6.9 million views since it was released last month, and is the latest salvo in the war over how food is produced and how much information is disclosed to consumers.


    Whole Foods and Ben & Jerry’s quickly followed with their own pledges to become GMO-free; superstore Target said it would add a brand that will not use any genetically modified ingredients.

    While most developed nations have required companies to label GMOs in foods for more than a decade, support for such a measure in the United States has just recently begun to gain traction in corporate boardrooms, state legislatures and courts.

    A petition submitted to the Food and Drug Administration calling for mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods garnered more than 1.2 million signatures, and several polls over the past few years have found that the vast majority of Americans — more than 90 percent — support labeling.

    Safety questions
    Since the first genetically modified food — a delayed ripening tomato — hit U.S. supermarket shelves in 1994, the number of genetically modified products has increased dramatically, with little fanfare. There are only nine genetically modified crops on the market: corn, soybeans, canola, cotton, sugar beets, alfalfa, Hawaiian papaya, zucchini and yellow crookneck squash. But there are thousands of processed foods, an estimated 40 to 70 percent of them, that contain GMO ingredients.

    Questions about the safety of GM foods for human health — the main concern for consumers — and the environment have persisted for years, and recent studies have done little to resolve the debate.
    Worries about such crops spiked in September 2012 with the publication of a study by Gilles-Eric Séralini, a professor of molecular biology at the University of Caen in France. He claimed that rats who were fed corn that had been genetically modified to be resistant to the weedkiller Roundup developed tumors, multiple organ damage and suffered from premature death. Although the study has been widely criticized for both its design and conclusions, it energized opponents and brought GMOs into the spotlight again.

    [​IMG]

    Read more here
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/natio...ea1b12-29fc-11e3-b139-029811dbb57f_story.html
     
  2. GeauxTigers

    GeauxTigers Member

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    I certainly agree it's horrific for a product containing GMO ingredients to be labeled as "natural" however I don't understand the petition. There is no current regulation on the use of "natural" or "all natural" and you'll find no shortage of GMO infested products that already boast such on their labels, so why the need to petition allowing for something that is already in practice? If anything I would expect the pro-GMO side to not want to bring attention to the fact this is already common practice and keep the masses believing a product labeled as "all natural" is better for them.
     
  3. KTdid

    KTdid Well-Known Member

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    I think they want regulatory guidance because of the all the lawsuits currently pending in the courts to stop companies from falsely using the 'All Natural' claim.

    "PepsiCo settled one such lawsuit in August over its use of the phrases “All Natural,” “All Natural Fruit” and “Non-GMO” on bottles of Naked Juices. The company said it would remove “All Natural” from the drinks’ packaging and pay consumers $9 million. However, PepsiCo will still use “non-GMO” on the juices, even though they are not certified as such."

    Other companies have gotten into trouble over “all natural” labeling. Before Ben & Jerry’s announced it would shift to all fair-trade ingredients, the Unilever-owned ice cream company dropped the term from its packages after pressure from the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

    General Mills is currently in litigation over accusations that its Nature Valley Granola Bars use deceptive labeling (what, it took people that long to figure out those teeth-shattering rations are not “all natural?”), and

    ConAgra has also been nailed for having genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in some of its cooking oil products that again boasted the “all-natural” label.

    Retailers, including Trader Joe’s, have been called out over similar fancy terms such as “evaporated cane juice,” which in MBA-speak means granulated sugar.

    In fairness to all of these companies, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not offer concise guidance on when, or when not, to use the term “natural.”

    From the FDA site:

    From a food science perspective, it is difficult to define a food product that is ‘natural’ because the food has probably been processed and is no longer the product of the earth. That said, FDA has not developed a definition for use of the term ‘natural’ or its derivatives. However, the agency has not objected to the use of the term if the food does not contain added color, artificial flavors, or synthetic substances. – FDA.gov

    If that were not comical enough, the FDA then asks, “How helpful was this information?” Well, such a definition does little to guide companies and consumers, but does give lawyers plenty of wiggle room for litigation. But that is why PepsiCo found itself in litigation – because the company was less than forthcoming about the ingredients in those “all natural” juices.

    Meanwhile, PepsiCo’s media relation site still describes Naked Juices as “all natural.” In an era when consumers are waking up and are demanding more transparency and authenticity, it is finally time for large food companies to drop that pesky and slippery definition for good.

    Based in Fresno, California, Leon Kaye is the editor of GreenGoPost.com and frequently writes about business sustainability strategy. Leon also contributes to Guardian Sustainable Business; his work has also appeared on Sustainable Brands, Inhabitat and Earth911. You can follow Leon and ask him questions on Twitter or Instagram (greengopost).

    http://www.triplepundit.com/2013/07/pepsico-all-natural-label-naked-juices/
     
  4. seashell

    seashell New Member

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    Thank you for posting this and other similar articles!! Awareness needs to be raised!!! Too many people are unaware of how these giant food companies are contaminating our bodies and the environment.
     

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