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Consumer Group Bumps Up Presence After GMO Labeling Defeat

Consumer Group Bumps Up Presence After GMO Labeling Defeat
Group takes advantage of renewed interest in GMO labeling; focuses on providing information and resources about foods with GM ingredients

The Tuesday defeat of California's Proposition 37, a ballot measure to label foods with genetically modified ingredients, has prompted increased interest in a new consumer group, GMO Inside.

The GMO Inside group on Thursday denounced the funds provided to pro-GMO campaigns by agribusinesses and food companies. GMO Inside says the pro-GMO campaign was designed to "deceive the public about the cost of labeling."

Group takes advantage of renewed interest in GMO labeling; focuses on providing information and resources about foods with GM ingredients

"Corporations may have misled voters in California about GMOs, but they can't change the fact that over 90 percent of Americans support the labeling of foods with genetically engineered ingredients," Alisa Gravitz, CEO of Green America, says. "The GMO Inside campaign will make it possible for all Americans to find GMOs in the food products in their homes and communities, label them, and switch to non-GMO foods instead.  The campaign will show corporations that people will not complacently serve as lab rats for the testing of genetically engineered foods."

GMO Inside was launched on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest late last month, and also includes a website where consumers can sign up to receive updates. More than 2,000 supporters have already "liked" the group's Facebook page.

On the page, one commenter writes, "We need to beat the MONSTER!" Another suggests, "What if all the food that wasn't GMO was labeled with a special label logo? Then people would know what was GMO free and safe to purchase?"

A press statement from the group said part of its focus will be in creating communities of people who are concerned about GMOs and who will support each others' efforts to label GMOs and avoid products containing them.

The GMO Inside campaign says also that it will provide consumers with information to "call attention" to GMO foods and resources to find GM ingredients in a range of commercially-available foods.

"We are disappointed but not deterred by this defeat," says John W. Roulac, CEO of organic foods company Nutiva. "GMO Inside was created to catapult the energy from the fight for Prop 37 to the next level. Our goal is to bring greater awareness to consumers nationwide about the dangers of GMOs and educate on what they can do to make a change."

The California Farm Bureau remains against Prop 37. CFB President Paul Wenger said in a statement on Wednesday that the legislation, if enacted, would have caused confusion about food safety and raised food costs.

"It would have created all sorts of complications for family farmers and others who grow or sell food. No matter what crops they grow or how they grow them, farmers want to provide the food and farm products that people want and need," he said, adding that Farm Bureau supports continued research and education to broaden understanding of genetically engineered foods.

According to the California Secretary of State, the measure narrowly failed with 4,326,770 (47%) yes votes to 4,884,961 (53%) no votes.

GMO Inside steering committee members include Food Democracy Now!, Green America, Institute for Responsible Technology, Foodbabe, Nature's Path and Nutiva.

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