U.S. GMO labeling foes triple spending in
first half of this year over 2013
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[September 03, 2014]
By Carey Gillam
(Reuters) - Opponents of mandatory labeling
for foods made with genetically modified organisms spent more than $27
million in the first six months of this year on GMO-related lobbying,
roughly three times their spending in all of 2013, according to an
analysis released Wednesday.
The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and major food makers
such as Coca-Cola Co and PepsiCo Inc and top biotech seed makers
Monsanto Co and DuPont were among heavy spenders on GMO
labeling-related lobbying, according to a report issued by the
Environmental Working Group.
The group analyzed lobbying disclosure forms that cited labeling of
foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) along with
other policy issues.
Coca-Cola spent $4.8 million through the second quarter of this
year; PepsiCo spent $2.34 million; DuPont spent $2.4 million, while
Monsanto spent $1.08 million, according to the report.
All told, the opponents of GMO labeling disclosed $15.2 million in
lobbying expenditures for the second quarter of 2014, bringing the
six-month total for 2014 to $27.5 million. That compared with $9.3
million disclosed on lobbying the issue by food and biotechnology
companies in 2013, according to EWG, a Washington-based nonprofit
that supports GMO labeling.
In contrast, supporters of GMO labeling disclosed $1.9 million in
lobbying expenditures for the first half of 2014, up slightly from
$1.6 million spent in 2013.
The expenditures by food and biotechnology companies come as the
group pushes for passage of a bill introduced in April by U.S.
Representative Mike Pompeo that would block state laws that require
GMO labeling on food packages.
Vermont in May became the first U.S. state to pass a mandatory GMO
labeling law that requires no other trigger to become effective.
More than 20 other states are considering mandatory labeling of GMO
foods, including Colorado and Oregon, which have the issue on the
ballot for the November election.
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Consumer groups and lawmakers pushing for mandatory labeling of GMOs
say there is no scientific consensus on their safety, and consumers
have the right to know if GMOs are in the food they eat. They say
high pesticide use associated with GMOs and pesticide residues on
food containing GMOS is a health concern. Last year, a group of
international scientists said more independent research is needed on
But the food and agriculture industries, including the makers of
genetically modified corn, soybeans, canola and other crops widely
used in packaged foods, say their products are proven safe. They
have sued to block the Vermont law and say that labeling will imply
GMO products are unsafe, confuse consumers and increase costs for
consumers as well as farmers and food companies.
(Reporting by Carey Gillam in Kansas City; Editing by Cynthia
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