As if the Grocery Manufacturer’s Association (GMA) didn’t do enough to help propagate the corruption of the U.S. food system this year (the GMA was recently accused of improperly collecting millions of dollars of funding against GMO labeling for the Washington state anti-GMO labeling campaign), it was reported last week that the organization will submit a petition to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requesting that genetically modified foods be labeled as “natural.”
It was in a Dec. 5 letter that the GMA announced its charge and plans to petition the FDA by the end of the year. According to the FDA’s priority list, the agency will seek to create voluntary guidelines for the labeling of GMO food products at this time.
Use of the term “natural” has been a hotly-debated topic as of late; companies from Kellogg to Chobani to Naked Juice have faced lawsuits for their use of the term on its labels. And, according to a New York Times report, GMA has noted that there are 65 other pending class-action suits around the U.S.
Perhaps this has to do with the fact that the term “natural” has yet to be defined by the FDA, despite its proliferation on labels of all kinds over the past several years (in case you need a refresher: right now, it’s loosely regulated by the FDA — at best).
GMO opponents generally contend that GMOs are the very opposite of “natural,” making this recent petition from the GMA pretty outlandish.
“There is nothing natural about genetic engineering, which is exactly why the Grocery Manufacturers Association wants FDA to create a special exemption for it. Natural is a great marketing tool and the industry doesn’t want to be restricted in using it,” said Colin O’Neil, the Center for Food Safety’s Director of Government Affairs. “[The] FDA should not respond to GMA’s demands for a special GMO loophole. [The] FDA has a duty to protect consumers, not industry,” he added.
Scott Faber, Vice President of the Environmental Working Group, called the GMA’s appeal to the FDA “audacious,” stating, “It’s like they’re trying to get the government to say night is day and black is white.”
While we have yet to see how the FDA will react to the GMA’s request, we can only hope this deceptive loophole is halted in its tracks.
Image Source: Alex-Bayden Meyer/Flickr