By: Willly Blackmore
If you’re the kind of consumer who avoids GMOs at the grocery store, you’re about to get some help making more informed shopping decisions from an unlikely party: PepsiCo.
“PepsiCo’s latest PR stunt shows why there must be a national, mandatory standard for the disclosure of GMO foods and ingredients,” Gary Hirshberg, chairman of Just Label It, said in a statement. “Labeling that is done only at the whim of companies and only on a handful of products as part of a marketing ploy shows a blatant disregard for consumer choice.”
Labeling a product that cannot be GMO as non-GMO would appear to take advantage of both consumer fears about genetically engineered foods—as unfounded as they may be—and the willingness of some people to pay a higher price for a seemingly better, safer, more ethical product.
Björn Bernemann, Tropicana’s vice president and general manager for North America, explained the decision by telling The New York Times, “Consumers today have a desire for transparency from brands, and that desire is only going to increase.” He also noted that Tropicana Pure Premium products have never contained GMOs—so the only thing that’s new is that the company is now marketing that fact.
If the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act—which opponents have labeled the DARK Act—ends up becoming law (the Senate still needs to pass it, and the president would have to sign it), the Tropicana scenario could very well become the status quo for GMO labeling in the U.S. That’s because in addition to superseding state-level labeling laws, the bill would require the Food and Drug Administration to develop standards for a federal GMO-free label—and companies would be free to pick and choose which products they use it for.
Originally Published: TakePart