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GMO Companies Ramp Up Fight Against Food Labels

Opponents of labeling genetically modified organisms boosted their spending in 2014 as states considered labeling laws.

Genetically modified corn and soybeans are commonly used in packaged foods.

The fight over labeling genetically modified organisms in the United States is far from over, and opponents of labeling are pushing back.

In the first half of this year, GMO-label opponents like Monsanto and DuPont spent around $27 million in lobbying, or three times their entire spending in 2013.

Those who support labeling spent only $1.9 million in lobbying, up slightly from the previous year’s $1.6 million.

Why The Big Spending?

Opponents supported a bill that would block Vermont from enforcing the first-ever GMO labeling law without a trigger clause.

U.S. Representative Mike Pompeo introduced the bill in April.

Those opposed to GMO labeling cite scientific evidence that says there is no discernible difference between genetically modified and organic foods.

Those who support labeling argue that the consumer has a right to know.

Opposition Focus

Labeling opponents claim that genetically modifying food is a more precise art than traditional breeding.

They argue that GMO food serves world interests: It can survive harsher conditions, repel pests and provide staples for developing nations.

They believe that labeling would stigmatize GMO products. Furthermore, they speculate, it would create a higher demand for produce that is not as easily grown, causing shortages and higher food prices.

Vetoed in Hawaii

The spending reports come after a U.S. judge struck down a bill that would keep GMO testing out of the Hawaiian island of Kauai.

Legislators in Kauai passed an ordinance that would have required companies to disclose pesticide use and some genetically modified crops.

DuPont, Monsanto, Syngenta and BASF sued, and U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry Kurren overturned the law, stating it was preempted by state law.

Read More:

  • US GMO labeling foes triple spending in first half of this year over 2013 (CNBC)
  • Why Liberal Americans Are Turning Against GMO Labeling (Forbes)
  • U.S. Judge Overturns GMO Crop Curbs in Hawaii (Wall Street Journal)
Liz Leslie

Liz Leslie is a journalist based in Chicago. When she's not writing about food, she's likely eating food. Or dreaming about food.

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