AlterNet: Big Food’s greatest fear is materializing. A critical mass of educated consumers, food and natural health activists are organizing a powerful movement that could well overthrow North America’s trillion-dollar junk food empire. Savvy and more determined than ever, activists are zeroing in on the Achilles heel of Food Inc. — labeling.
But as consumers demand truth and greater transparency in labeling, it isn’t just Big Food whose empire is vulnerable. The biotech industry, which makes billions supplying junk food manufacturers with cheap, genetically engineered (GE) ingredients, has even more to lose. Monsanto knows that if food producers are forced to label the genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in their food products, they’ll reformulate those products to meet consumer demand for GMO-free alternatives. That’s why companies like Monsanto, DuPont and Dow, along with Coca-Cola and Pepsi, last year spent more than $46 million to defeat Proposition 37, California’s GMO labeling initiative.
The junk food and biotech industries narrowly (48.5% – 51.5%) prevailed in California, but they know it’s only a matter of time before one or more states pass a mandatory GMO labeling law. More than 30 state legislatures are now debating GMO labeling bills. And consumers have broadened the fight beyond just labeling. Five counties and two cities in California and Washington have banned the growing of GE crops. In addition, given the near total absence of FDA regulation, 19 states have passed laws restricting GMOs.
How is the biotech industry fighting back? By attacking democracy. Experts say the laws are on the side of consumers. But consumers will no doubt still have to defend democracy against an increasingly desperate, and aggressive, industry bent on protecting the highly profitable business of genetically engineered food. [Continue reading…]