Did Big Food Spend Millions In A Secret Scheme To Kill GMO Labeling?

The mandatory labeling on genetically modified organisms has become a hot button topic, but very little progress has been made on the issue.

Last summer, we reported that the House of Representatives introduced a bill to ban mandatory GMO labeling. Now the state of Washington is suing Big Food for utilizing a secret $11 million campaign to kill a state GMO labeling law that was eventually defeated by a vote of 54.8 percent to 45.2 percent. A record $22 million was spent on the "no campaign," according to The Seattle Times.

Big Food (comprised of the largest food brands and companies in America including PepsiCo, General Mills, Nestle, and Coca-Cola) is being sued by the state of Washington for allegedly raising $11 million in secret to lobby against the GMO labeling bill. The aggressive ad campaign was spearheaded by the Grocery Manufacturer's Association (GMA), according to previously undisclosed secret documents released this week by Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson.  The documents reveal that GMA set up its secret account apparently to avoid public criticism of the campaign which was only reported as having come from GMA, not the individual food corporations.

"GMA engaged in an elaborate scheme to unlawfully shield its members' contributions from public scrutiny," Ferguson said in a statement. "They need to be held accountable."

The lawsuit names the "egregious" plot as "among the worst in state history." The Grocery Manufacturer's Association has maintained its innocence in the matter and claimed that the lawsuit was "based on a one-sided misportrayal of the facts."

Interestingly enough, Campbell's, which according to the documentation donated nearly $300,000 to the cause, announced in January that the brand would be voluntarily labeling all GMOs on their products.