National lobbying firm “GMA” (Grocery Manufacturers Association) represents Fortune 100 food companies like Kraft, General Mills, Monsanto, PepsiCo, and Kellogg’s. Back in October, they were highlighted for donating $5 Million to defeat a law that would label genetically engineered foods in the state of Washington. The donation, along with their previous donations, brings their total to $7.2 Million. The funds went to the “NO to 522” Campaign. The Grocery Manufacturers Association was the largest donor to the “NO to 522” Campaign.
In the state of Washington, the battle over GMO labeling heated up to the point of lawsuits. A local non-profit called “Moms for Labeling” filed a lawsuit against the “NO on 522” campaign in September, accusing its main donor, the GMA lobbyists, of laundering donation money from its members to conceal where the money came from. “Moms for Labeling” is accusing the “NO on 522” Campaign of concealing the identity of its donors.
Grocery Manufacturers Association is doing what thousands of lobbying firms that cover K St. and downtown DC. http://www.gmaonline.org/about/contact/
Now that the Grocery Manufacturers Association got negative attention via a lawsuit for violation of the Public Disclosure Act by laundering their “NO on 522” donations through shell organizations with pleasant names such as “Teachers against 522,” they have moved on to new strategies.
The GMA is pushing legislation through the federal government to outlaw GMO labeling laws enacted on the state level. The GMA is also seeking to have the FDA declare GMO foods as “natural” to allow food companies to put the label “All Natural” on genetically engineered corn, wheat, soy, dairy, and other food products. http://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/files/2013_1205_gma_letter_to_fda_81204.pdf
Regulation is costly and sometimes ineffective, so citizens always have the option of simply being educated on what’s available at the grocery store, and making informed decisions that go beyond a cursory glance at a food label. However, many households have one or two working parents. Non-profits representing parents argue that they don’t have time to always 100% research these issues, and they should be provided with a fair disclosure on a food label so they know what they’re buying.
Many of the non-profits that are fighting Monsanto and GMO giants are related to progressive movements. Progressive and liberal movements tend to want tighter regulations on businesses that they feel prey on the citizenry. However many Libertarians, who are small-government proponents, appear to sympathize with progressives and liberals on the GMO disclosure issue, even though more government regulations is anti-Libertarian. No matter the political leanings, many in the US have taken issue with Monsanto and other food corporations impact on farmers, their evasiveness with consumers, and their refusal to acknowledge lab results showing GMO’s have harmful health effects. GMO’s have been, and will continue to be, a hot button issue across political spectrums.