by Amber

Food Labeling Law: Word Wars

Despite the fact that the FDA now wants added sugar listed as sugar, instead of it’s many other industry preferred names, the first GMO food labeling law was approved by Congress last week. Now it’s headed to the Oval Office, where we all know it will be signed into law. The Dark Act it is too. Labeling that doesn’t have to be on the label. Instead they minced with words enough to get the dreaded ‘contains GMOs’ tucked away on a web page you link to via a QR code.

Hard on the consumer. Easy on the food industry. They can continue hiding food facts many American deem important too know. Contents of food products shouldn’t be only accessible on a website. It is not readily available to every shopper at the point of purchase. Why? Because 35% of Americans do not have smart phones, and over 25% of the people living in this country have no internet service in their home. They should go to the library, and research their shopping list before heading to the supermarket?

It takes more label space to add a QR code than it does to stick CONTAINS GMOs somewhere. Over 90% of any food label is devoted to artwork and marketing hype. The list of ingredients on many products is so small you need a magnifying glass to read it, which is where the packaging designer would stick a GMO disclosure. So, what’s their problem? They’ve got not issues with adding the stuff to their special recipes, but coming clean about it is a totally different thing.

Like the added sugar food manufacturers have created 65 other names for listing it in the ingredients. SIXTY FIVE shades of gray? Not quite. It’s actually only 24. The number of sweetening ingredients the consumer might easily overlook. That’s still a broad swath of veiled nutrition facts.

Classes in food label deciphering should be taught in basic school curriculum… starting right after students conquer reading beginner books.

See Jane. See Spot.

See Jane walk to the store. Spot has to stay home. Dogs are not allowed in food stores.

Spot is sad. Jane will be gone a long time. She has to read labels for Mother.

Mother gave Jane her smart phone to help read labels faster. It has an app with a database of good things to eat.

Jane cannot buy anything with high-fructose corn syrup in it. She must avoid any foods with gluten, milk, nuts, and GMOs.

Jane has to read all the hidden facts with the QR code reader. She must then compare that with the database.

Spot will take a nap while he waits for Jane. Maybe there will be time to play fetch later.

Every 9 year old needs to know this. Reading labels is the only way to be sure what they buy with their allowance is safe to eat when you’re not around. The younger they are, the faster they will learn. Just like using computers. Of course, they will also need their own mobile device to look up the QR codes on snack items, and in the school cafeteria. Meanwhile, a lobbying front for Big Ag are promoting the hollow benefits of biotech crops and agrochemical farming to your middle school and high school students. A Monsanto PR campaign disguised as education. (Link below.)

Most Big Food proponents claims that adding CONTAINS GMOs to food packaging will cost a fortune. They’ll have to totally redesign labels. Funny, Campbells Soup, and a few other manufacturers embraced the desires of their customers months ago. They put GMO labeling on their products with no problem at all. Still, the majority insists it will take up too much space needed for other important food facts. It’s a lot less of a space hog than:


Big Food loves that high-fructose corn syrup. Tons of food and drink products list it in the ingredients. No argument listing that huge phrase, even though it’s almost twice as long as ‘contains GMOs’. It’s also 5 times more of a space hog than identifying it as sugar. So, why are they using these identifiers to list sweeteners? Words or phrases that are so much longer than simply stating ‘sugar’.

Do they call listing the sweetener as dextran or maltose honesty in labeling? Most consumers haven’t a clue that those are sugars. Many probably aren’t aware that over 80% of the corn grown in the country is an herbicide resistant crop. So, unless it’s listed as ‘organic high-fructose corn syrup’ – it’s probably made from genetically modified corn. But it’s highly unlikely an organic food manufacturer would ever use high-fructose corn syrup as a sweetener. Their customers demand natural ingredients like honey, apple juice, or raw sugar.

Contains milk, contains nuts, contains wheat… these additions to the label were no problem. People with food allergies need to know that. According to the medical community, glyphosate causes food allergies, and most GMO crops are created to tolerate glyphosate herbicide, but that’s not the only way the herbicide gets into grains. Monsanto highly suggests that farmers dry grains faster by an application of Roundup. The plants don’t even have to be herbicide tolerant at this point. Farmers want them to die when the grain is mature. It certainly boosts end of the season chemical sales in the US and around the world.

That’s not a secret. It’s on their website. Look up crop desiccation. The likely source of the glyphosate-contamination found in oats this year. Even organic oats aren’t safe. Not that the farmer would spray weed killer on his fields. It would cost him his certification. There’s drift, and chemical transfer due to fog and rain.

Which likely means that if they actually went out and tested the soil on all these certified organic farms, the results on many of them would come back showing glyphosate in residence. There is no escape. It’s everywhere, polluting things people work very hard to keep chemical free.

And yet they wage war on what the population wants as their food labeling law as it pertains to genetically modified crops and food ingredients derived from them.

How about the real reason for the battle is protecting the curb appeal of the shelf real estate. That’s what a label becomes in a store. It’s not like genetically modified foods are some big secret. Most foods in the grocery store contain genetically engineered ingredients in one form or another. But if consumers suddenly and dramatically changed their buying habits, the meltdown would certainly settle on the chain all the way back to the source.

But isn’t the herbicide contamination the reason most people don’t want to eat GMOs? Eating organic will lessen your exposure, but no one can totally avoid eating glyphosate, or drinking it, or absorbing it from the air.

So, we’re still in the dark. It looks like that will never change. You want more control over what you eat? Grow your own. Buy it from small farms in your neighborhood. Its the only way not to be owned as a profit projection or demographic statistic.

On a more positive note… Roundup Ready 2Xtend soybeans are still not approved. Not in the US, or in the EU. Monsanto finds this year long stall tactic on the part of the EPA “unacceptable”. Unfortunately, Monsanto didn’t consult with Monarch butterflies while cooking up this new weed lambasting biotech crop. Some things have more clout than Monsanto. Like Monarch butterflies’ food source. Namely that dreaded crop weed known as MILKWEED. A lovely wildflower, should you happen to be able to observe one. Monsanto, Dow, Syngenta and the rest of the biotech warlords would prefer that you and the butterflies never had the pleasure.

Apparently Monsanto is clueless what “being a steward of the Earth” means.

Learn more about today’s rant:

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The garden played a starring role from spring through fall in the house Amber was raised in. She has decades of experience growing plants from seeds and cuttings in the plot and pots.