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GMO Labeling Does NOT Increase Food Costs

Everyone – The column below was first posted on Blue Oregon (http://www.blueoregon.com/2014/08/myth-gmo-labels-increasing-food-prices/)  earlier tonight…(Aug 28, 2014) , and is also posted on Rick North’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/rick.north.54/posts/555872657892310.

The Myth of GMO Labels Increasing Food Prices

In the weeks ahead, you’ll be inundated with ads sounding the alarm that if Oregon Measure 92 passes, GMO labeling will significantly raise your grocery bills.

The ads will be paid for by biotech giants like Monsanto, Syngenta and Dow Chemical, plus the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and their corporate members like Coke and Pepsi. They’ll cite some study, invariably funded by industry, claiming GMO labeling will cause family food prices to skyrocket, as much as $400-$500 a year.

Let’s do a reality check.

Consumer food prices are based on multiple factors, including costs for raw materials, production, transportation, advertising, brand competition and retailers’ competition. They’re complex, making exact predictions impossible. But we can say with certainty that past experience shows no evidence that GMO labeling would increase prices.

You don’t have to take my word for it. Take Scott Faber’s (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/scott-faber/changing-labels-wont-incr_b_4073189.html?&utm_medium=email&utm_source=yeson522&utm_content=2+-+Scott+Faber&utm_campaign=pr131018&source=pr131018). For five years, he was vice president for federal affairs for the very same GMA and is currently director of Just Label It, which supports GMO labeling. He asserts that “What I learned is that adding a few words to a label has no impact on the price of making or selling food.” (See: New! Improved!)

He adds that you don’t have to take his word for it either. In 1990, GMA president C. Manly Molpus (I swear I’m not making this name up) supported the now familiar nutrition labels then being introduced.  The New York Times article covering the issue (http://www.nytimes.com/1990/03/08/us/us-plans-to-make-sweeping-changes-in-labels-on-food.html?pagewanted=1) reported “Industry officials said that labels are changed frequently and if the rule is phased in as planned, little cost would be added.”

There’s also no evidence that GMO labeling increased food prices in the 64 countries that have adopted it. Indeed, David Byrne, then European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection, declared (http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/health_consumer/library/speeches/speech114_en.pdf  that “It did not result in increased costs, despite the horrifying (double-digit) prediction of some interests.” American food companies are already labeling their GMO products for export without increasing consumer costs.

Several industry-funded reports argue that more costs will be incurred because there will be a sudden massive switch in consumer buying habits to conventional non-GMO and organic, which is non-GMO by definition. Although anti-GMO activists would cheer the prospect of such a transformation, don’t bet the organic farm on it. Why?

Consumers can mostly be divided into three groups, the largest those that usually don’t read labels – 52%, according to a recent survey( http://www.foodnavigator-usa.com/Regulation/How-much-do-consumers-use-and-understand-nutrition-labels). The other two are those who will see the GMO labels but won’t care, and those who see them and decide to buy non-GMO products. The market segment concerned with GMO’s is certainly growing, but the math just doesn’t add up to an immediate across-the-board change. Whether the shift to non-GMO is large or small, farmers will change crops to meet the demand, just as they always have.

If there was a major conversion over time, it’s accurate that there would need to be expansion of growing and processing of non-GMO crops that can add costs. But separate tracks for conventional non-GMO and organic already exist, as a glance at the variety of breakfast cereals in any grocery store will show. Both Cheerios and Grape-Nuts have gone non-GMO in the past year without raising prices and Ben & Jerry’s(file:///C:/Users/Rick/Documents/GMO%27s%20-%20OR%202014%20Campaign/USA%20Today%20article%20on%20Ben%20and%20Jerry%27s%20going%20gmo-free%206-15-14.htm), which is in the process of going non-GMO, will do the same.

Finally, consider that the cost of the crops is only a very small part of the finished product. One example: According to food writer Tom Philpott (http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2013/10/would-gmo-labeling-jack-food-prices), using USDA figures, the cost of the corn going into Kellogg’s Corn Flakes selling for $3.79 a box at Fred Meyer’s is only five cents.

As a trade association, the purpose of GMA is to protect the profits of its member corporations. In contrast, the purpose of Consumers Union, which publishes Consumer Reports, is to inform and protect US, the citizens. Consumers Union determined (http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/2013/10/labeling-genetically-engineered-food-washington-initiative-522/index.htm) that I-522, Washington state’s 2013 initiative to label GMO foods, would not significantly raise consumer costs. It says the same about Oregon and also endorses Measure 92.

Last year, the Washington state attorney general sued GMA (http://blogs.seattletimes.com/politicsnorthwest/2013/10/16/attorney-general-sues-grocery-association-alleging-campaign-finance-violations/) for soliciting millions of dollars from its corporate members to fight I-522 and keeping their donations secret from voters, violating the state’s campaign finance disclosure laws. GMA is also suing Vermont to block its recently-passed GMO labeling bill. It also petitioned the FDA this year to allow GMO foods to be labeled “natural.”

Somehow it seems perfectly appropriate that GMA is only one letter away from GMO.

Transparency is the heart of Measure 92 – your right to know what’s in your food. The bottom line is simple: Your vote is a choice between disclosing information or concealing it.

Rick North

503-968-1520

hrnorth@hevanet.com

Posted in GMO FOOD, Health Issues, Monsanto, Organic products, Politics | Leave a comment

Fine Print of the Food Wars

 Monsanto and Biotech Industry Pushing for World Food Monopoly Through Seed Supply

Posted in GMO FOOD, Health Issues, Monsanto, Organic products, Special Interest | Leave a comment

6 of Biotech’s Biggest Marketing Myths

Are you tired of the lies told by Biotech? Cut through the false information with this article:http://orgcns.org/1yGqm8S

Posted in GMO FOOD, Health Issues, Monsanto, Organic products | Leave a comment

Cashier Openings for August 18-23

Good  Afternoon,

Please remember to look at notebook by the register for any updates every time you work!

We have a variety of openings.  Check them out

Monday, August 18                       10a-12p

Tuesday, August 19                       10a-12p; 12p-3p; 3p-6p

Wednesday, August 20               10a-12p; 3p-6p

Thursday, August 21                    12p-3p;  3p-6p

Friday, August 22                         10a-12p; 12p-3p; 3p-6p

Saturday, August 23                    10a-12p; 12p-3p  

 Thanks for all you do,

Rene

 

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FACT CHECK: Too many exemptions on Measure 92?

THE CLAIM: There are so many exemptions in Measure 92, it won’t be effective.

THE VERDICTFalse!

THE FACTS: There are NO exemptions in Measure 92.

To the contrary – if the measure is passed, all raw and

packaged GMO foods sold in stores would have to disclose

that they were produced with genetically engineered

ingredients,  just like they are in 64 other countries.

Attacking the language of this initiative is a scare tactic pushed by big chemical companies with a financial interest in confusing the public and defeating Measure 92. They spent millions promoting this false attack in their campaigns against labeling initiatives in Washington and California. The fact of the matter is that the language in Measure 92 has been carefully drafted to ensure that all raw and packaged food sold in stores would be required to disclose if they are produced using genetically engineered ingredients – no exceptions.

Stay up to date with Yes on 92:

Join us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

                                 

 CONTRIBUTE

Paid for by Yes on Measure 92:

We Have the Right to Know What’s in our Food

P.O. Box 12628       Portland OR 97212 United States

 

Posted in Community/Member Support, GMO FOOD, Health Issues, Monsanto, Organic products, Politics, Special Interest | Leave a comment

Big Ag Groups forming to oppose Our Right To Know

 

OREGON RIGHT TO KNOW

We just got word from Salem: Opponents of our initiative just formed a No on 92 political action committee – and they picked the heads of two Big Agribusiness front groups to run it.

There’s only one reason these front groups and the agribusiness conglomerates that fund them would form an organization like this: To pool corporate profits and flood our airwaves with the same kind of misleading attacks that helped defeat labeling initiatives in California and Washington.

This makes tomorrow’s end of month deadline more critical than ever:

Contribute now to help us fight the anti-labeling PAC’s attacks. If you give before midnight tomorrow, your gift will be matched 2-to-1, tripling your impact. 

Get this: the No on 92 PAC has two directors. One is the executive director of the so-called “Oregonians for Food & Shelter,” an industry front group funded by Monsanto and Syngenta, and the other is a Vice President at the Grocery Manufacturers Association, another group backed by – guess who! – Monsanto, Syngenta, Dow, Coca Cola and more.

With their big money backers’ corporate profits in jeopardy, no wonder they’re opposed to our right to know what’s in the products they’re selling.

We only have 24 hours left to reach our end of month goal. With this powerful new PAC preparing for a fight, we absolutely can’t afford to fall short now.

Contribute now to support the pro-labeling movement and your gift will be triple matched>>

Thanks for your commitment to the cause,

Andy Darkins
Campaign Manager, Yes on 92

CONTRIBUTE
Posted in GMO FOOD, Health Issues, Monsanto, Politics, Special Interest | Leave a comment

Oregon Right To Know-We Are On The Ballot!

Our voter-backed initiative to demand labeling for genetically engineered foods has been certified by the Secretary of State. That means we’re officially on the ballot in Oregon!

This is a pivotal moment for our campaign. With all eyes on us, what we do now will set the tone for the rest of the campaign.

That’s why we’ve set an ambitious goal of 2,500 grassroots donations by midnight Friday.

Contribute now to help us reach our goal. This is our biggest moment yet — help us make sure it really counts.

This is critical — now that we’re officially on the ballot, we’re going to be under constant attack by Monsanto and other Big Food corporations. These companies make big profits from selling unlabeled genetically engineered foods, so they’re going to do whatever it takes to keep GMO labeling from becoming law.

Monsanto is going to come at us with all they’ve got — we need to be prepared NOW.

Rush $35 now to stand up to Big Food before Friday’s deadline >>

It’s because of grassroots activists like you that we’ve come so far. With your help, we can keep the momentum building all the way until November.

Thanks for celebrating this huge moment with us,

Paige Richardson,  Campaign Director, Yes on 92

CONTRIBUTE

 

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El Salvadoran Farmers Block Mandatory GMO Seeds in an Aid Package

Please go to this Truth-out site for the full story on the attempt of the US to force El Salvadoran farmers to purchase only GMO seeds:

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/24811-el-salvadoran-farmers-successfully-oppose-the-use-of-monsanto-seeds

Posted in GMO FOOD, Health Issues, Monsanto, Organic products, Politics | Leave a comment

Organic Consumer’s Essay of the Week

ESSAY OF THE WEEK

Lawmakers to Consumers: ‘You’re Dummies’

The “experts” have spoken, and here’s what they have to say: You’re just too stupid to handle a label on your food that says “this product contains genetically engineered ingredients.”

Members (see the list here) of the subcommittee on Horticulture, Research, Biotechnology, and Foreign Agriculture, along with four of their hand-picked puppets (um, experts), met last week to pat themselves on the back for the great job GMO crops and foods are doing of feeding the world, providing better nutrition and slashing the use of pesticides.

Yep, they’re all doing a heckuva job. Except that they aren’t.

But the best part of their meeting was the part where they insulted you and every other educated consumer who believes that, at the very least, you should have the right to know if your food contains GMOs.

Here’s what one of the experts—Dr. David Just, Co-Director, Cornell Center for Behavioral Economics in Child Nutrition Programs”—said at last week’s meeting:

It is ignorance of the product, and it’s a general skepticism of anything they eat that is too processed or treated in some way that they don’t quite understand.

Oh, we understand, alright. Dr. Just works for Cornell, which is on Monsanto’s payroll. Just like half the lawmakers in Washington who rode there on Monsanto’s dime.

Read the article

ACTION ALERT

Stupid TalkRodney Davis

Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.-13), (pictured) acting chairman of the House Agriculture Committee’s Subcommittee on Horticulture, Research, Biotechnology and Foreign Agriculture, convened a public hearing last week to “consider the benefits” of biotechnology.

The attendees”—members of the subcommittee and their so-called “experts”—gushed over the wonderfulness of toxic, chemical-drenched crops and foods. But what they were really trying to figure out was how to sell the same old lies about Monsanto’s Empire to “ignorant” consumers who “just don’t understand” GMOs.

We think we should let Rep. Davis, and all the members of the subcommittee, and all their bankrolled “experts,” know that they can insult us all they want”—but they can’t fool us. Monsanto has not only failed to deliver on promises of higher yields, better nutrition, fewer chemicals and happier farmers. But the Gene Giant is also poisoning our food and fields.

We’ve provided all the names of the subcommittee members, and the experts, in case your representative is on the subcommittee, and you want to contact him or her individually.

TAKE ACTION: Tell the subcommittee on Horticulture, Research, Biotechnology, and Foreign Agriculture that you’re not too stupid to understand a GMO label!

Call the subcommittee on Horticulture, Research, Biotechnology, and Foreign Agriculture and tell members you’re no dummy! 202-225-2171

Posted in GMO FOOD, Health Issues, Monsanto, Organic products, Politics, Sustainable Farming | Leave a comment

Oregon Right To Know Fact Check

Oregon Right to Know

Make no mistake: The big chemical companies fighting tooth and nail against GMO food labeling aren’t just hoping to keep the public misinformed about this issue – they’re counting on it.

That’s why we’re fighting back, each week, with a GMO Labeling Fact Check. This week, we’ll explore the claim that transparent labeling will increase the cost of food.


THE CLAIM: Labeling genetically engineered products will increase the price of food.

THE VERDICT: FALSE

THE FACTS: The big chemical companies that profit from selling genetically engineered foods have spent millions trying to confuse voters with the false claim that labeling genetically engineered foods will raise prices and hurt consumers. But according to Consumers Union, the parent organization of Consumer Reports, that just isn’t the case.

The truth is that food companies routinely change their labels for all sorts of reasons without increasing cost. In fact, even the incredibly small cost conferred to consumers from a new price tag is bigger than the cost of disclosing if a product is genetically engineered on a label.

What’s more, labeling the genetically engineered foods that are exported to any of the 64 countries that already require labeling has not increased the cost of our food. Many American foods companies sell their products in those countries and disclose genetically engineered ingredients on their labels without incurring any additional costs. If they can provide that information to their customers in Europe, Japan and Australia, they can do the same here in Oregon.

Stay up to date on all the facts and falsehoods by clicking here to join us on Facebook or here to follow us on Twitter.

Posted in GMO FOOD, Health Issues, Monsanto, Organic products, Politics, Upcoming Events | Leave a comment