Grocery Manufacturer’s Association Overtakes Monsanto as “Most Evil Corporation on the Planet”
January 28, 2014
Before there was Monsanto, junk food companies were already hard at work influencing American politics to further their own agenda. In fact, the junk food industry has had full control over federal policy for more than six decades
The Grocery Manufacturer’s Association of America (GMA), which represents the biggest junk food manufacturers in the world, has a detailed plan for combating GMO labeling efforts across the US
This includes the pursuit of statutory federal preemption—an industry-friendly, soft law that does not include a labeling requirement. This federal solution would trump state rules
The GMA has sued Washington State for the right to hide corporate campaign funds—a move that threatens the transparency of the state’s elections on every issue
GMA is also trying to get the FDA to permit GMOs to be labeled “natural”
By Dr. Mercola
The addictive and health-harming nature of sugar and processed food has been repeatedly confirmed through the years, and genetically engineered foods rank equally high on the list when it comes to foods that do more harm than good.
Monsanto, as most of you may already know, has long been referred to by those in the know as "the most evil company on the planet." But it has stiff competition. Before there was Monsanto, junk food companies were already hard at work influencing American politics to further their own agenda.
The processed food industry has a lot to answer for when it comes to the general health of Americans, who spend upwards of 90 percent of all their food dollars on processed convenience foods.
The latest developments in the fight for GMO labeling actually makes a strong case for giving the title of "Most Evil Organization on the Planet" to the Grocery Manufacturer's Association of America (GMA), which represents the processed food leaders, including Pepsi, Coke, Kraft, Kellogg's, and General Mills. The Grocery Manufacturer's Association also lists Monsanto as a member, so it would make sense that the sum would be greater than the parts.
This organization is no stranger to stooping way down low to protect their members' interests—your health and human rights be damned. And that is, in my opinion, evil.
GMA Caught in Money Laundering Scheme
But before I get into the latest developments, let me backtrack for a moment. During last year's I-522 ballot campaign to label GMOs in Washington State, the GMA came up with an ingenious, and illegal, money laundering scheme to protect the identity of members who donated funds to the opposing campaign.1
Several major food companies experienced massive backlash and consumer boycotts once their contributions to the anti-labeling campaign in California (Prop. 37) in 2012 became widely known. This was a fate they all wanted to avoid, no doubt, and to prevent you from knowing which companies funded the anti-labeling campaign in Washington State, the GMA create a "brand defense" account, which paid for the campaign's propaganda without disclosing where the money came from.
This illegal move helped them defeat I-522 by a mere one percent margin. The scheme fell apart however, and the GMA was sued by Attorney General Bob Ferguson,2 who accused them of intentional money laundering and violating state campaign disclosure laws.
As a result, the identities of the companies paying to defeat I-522 were released.3 Not surprisingly it contained the usual suspects: Pepsi, Coke, General Mills, and Nestle – all primary purveyors of chronic disease.
Documents Unearthed in GMA Money Laundering Scandal Reveal Long-Term Plans to Combat GMO Labeling
Lawbreakers or not, the GMA's work continues unabated, and job number one is to keep you as uninformed about GMOs as possible. This was clearly evidenced in heavily redacted documents4 released through the Attorney General's investigation of the GMA money laundering scheme.
A previous Politico report5 revealed that a key aspect of the GMA's plan for combating GMO labeling efforts across the US included the pursuit of statutory federal preemption—a law that prevents a labeling requirement.
This is one part of a detailed, five-pronged strategic plan to keep its members from having to reveal what their foods are made of. The documents6 released through the Attorney General also reveal quite a bit about the GMA's strategic plan by what they hide. Large sections of the documents are redacted, including:
A portion under the heading "Industry Image Efforts," which appears to be related to the GMA's plan for addressing "attackers," i.e. people and organizations working toward letting you know what's in your food
Under the subhead "Industry Image Campaign," it is revealed that a PR firm, the name of which is redacted, "has been retained to help develop a comprehensive program for execution in 2014." The details relating to this plan are redacted
A section redacted in its entirety is titled, "Examining Options for Conveying Information to Consumers"
Also redacted is the name of an entity that "understands the need for continued opposition to efforts at the state level to impose mandatory labels and has directed GMA staff to continue to oppose such efforts." I for one am curious as to who this mysterious entity is that has "directed" the GMA to oppose labeling in the face of public demand for disclosure and transparency...
Also redacted are several pages-worth relating to the Association's long-term plans to quench GMO transparency issues
GMA Now Pushing for Industry-Friendly GMO Labeling
As reported in the featured article7 and elsewhere,8 the GMA's preemptive attempts are now in full swing. As stated earlier, a major part of the GMA's plan is to prevent states from creating their own labeling laws by pushing for an industry-friendly, voluntary labeling law at the federal level.
"The push for a softer national standard on GMO labeling comes as consumer interest in biotech foods has blown up into an intense national conversation, and the food industry is clearly trying to get out ahead of a strong, vocal movement pushing strict labeling requirements in multiple states around the country," Politico writes.9 "GMA's proposal is aimed at protecting its members from having to fight a series of state labeling efforts as several states..."
On December 5, 2013, the GMA sent a letter 10 to Elizabeth Dickinson, Chief Counsel of the FDA, informing her that "GMA will be filing a Citizen Petition early in 2014 that asks FDA to issue a regulation authorizing foods containing ingredients derived from biotechnology to be labeled "natural."
According to the letter, 26 state legislatures are currently considering whether GMOs should be permitted in products bearing a "natural" label, and some 65 class action lawsuits have been filed against food manufacturers who use GMO ingredients in their "natural" products. The GMA essentially wants the FDA to settle the dispute and close the door on future lawsuits. The letter reads, in part:
"Consumers and the food industry would all benefit from uniform legal requirements and the consistent outcomes that result from federal regulations, rather than state-by-state dictates... As such, federal rulemaking is needed here so that the issue of whether foods that contain ingredients derived from biotechnology can be labeled "natural" is removed from judicial or state interpretation..."
The Center for Food Safety has previously urged the FDA to reject such petitions.11 Clearly, genetically engineered foods are far from natural. It is the very epitome of unnatural.
GMA Sues Washington State for Right to Hide Corporate Funding!
But the GMA has more dirty tricks up its sleeve. On January 13, the Washington State Office of the Attorney General announced that the GMA has countersued the state, challenging its campaign finance laws.12 Essentially, the Association is suing for the right to hide corporate campaign funds—a move that threatens the transparency of the state's elections on every issue! What's more, the GMA has also filed a civil rights complaint against the Attorney General himself, claiming that he acted unconstitutionally when he enforced the state's laws! According to the press release:
"In its counterclaim and civil rights suit, the GMA claims the following are unconstitutional as they have been applied in this case:
Washington's law requiring the GMA to file a political committee before collecting funds from its members for specific political activity in Washington;
Washington's law requiring the GMA to disclose the organizations who contributed to its special political fund and how much they donated; and
Washington's law requiring the GMA to secure $10 in donations from 10 separate registered Washington voters as part of its political committee before donating to another political committee"
It would be laughable if it wasn't so serious. This is bullying at its finest. The GMA wants to send a message to any individual who thinks he has the power to stand in its way, and to any state who tries to protect the rights of its people, that it's going to cost you. Fortunately, Attorney General Ferguson is no wuss, boldly declaring:
"After breaking our state's campaign finance disclosure laws, the GMA now seeks to have them declared unconstitutional. I look forward to defending transparency in Washington elections."
A GMA document also lays out a clear-cut strategy for addressing any state that successfully implements a GMO labeling law, stating that, "The first state to implement a GMO labeling law will be sued on the constitutional grounds seen in IDFA v. Amestoy." Costly litigation is clearly part of the GMA's overall master plan to protect industry profits in the face of growing consumer awareness about the many problems inherent with genetically engineered and grossly adulterated, processed foods....
GMA Litigation Conference
The GMA also holds an annual Litigation Conference,13 where its members are taught to push for more mandatory vaccines to circumvent lawsuits against tainted CAFO products, and how to squash consumer groups seeking to rid the industry of hazardous ingredients . Here are just a couple of the presentations scheduled for the 2014 event:
Preventing Foodborne Illness through Vaccinations. Vaccinations and inoculations can be an effective tool for preventing foodborne illness outbreaks, however employment and labor laws create a significant hurdle to this approach. For example, Hepatitis A is the cause of numerous outbreaks every year. A simple vaccination for food service employees would greatly reduce this risk, however current labor laws prevent employers from forcing the vaccination on employees. This session will explore this and other methods for preventing foodborne illness outbreaks, and how these approaches are impacted by employment and labor laws.
Trans Fats and Beyond: Anticipating the Next Generation of Industry Risks. The FDA's recent decision regarding GRAS status for partially-hydrogenated oils (PHO) containing trans fats may be just the tip of the iceberg if consumer groups and plaintiff's attorneys have their way. This presentation will discuss the litigation and regulatory implications of FDA's PHO decision, the increasing power and tactics of CSPI and other consumer groups, and the next generation of risks to face the food industry, such as the Pew Food Additives Project, challenges to GRAS self-affirmation, nanotechnology, pesticide residues, and involvement by state attorneys general in false labeling cases.
Junk Food Industry Has Had Full Control Over Federal Food Policy for More Than 60 Years
Pesticide producers and junk food manufacturers have been allowed to create terrifyingly ignorant policies for health, in exchange for a rather lucrative business model that benefits their own bottom lines.
The GMA has not only resorted to illegal means to further the agenda of its junk food-producing members—some 300 of them in all—the organization is also trying to muscle its way out of its legal conundrums by filing countersuits at the expense of state governments.
An article written in 1950, titled "The Battlefront for Better Nutrition,"14 clearly shows just how little has changed in the past 60 years, and how the junk food industry has had full control of our federal food policy this entire time. As you can see by the following excerpt, the corruption was already well-recognized 60 years ago, yet has been allowed to continue to flourish and grow with each passing year.
"... [T]here is a battle going on between those who are trying to promote better nutrition, and the food manufacturers who insist on making products 'worse so that they can be sold for less,' thereby eliminating the competition of more honest and self-respecting producers who would prefer to apply in business the Golden Rule...
These commercial interests have the United States Government on their side, ever since they ousted Dr. Harvey W. Wiley from his job as head of the Food & Drug Administration in 1912. The present head of the Food & Drug Division of Nutrition, Dr. Elmer M. Nelson in a special Constitutional Court in Washington... testified that: 'It is wholly unscientific to state that a well fed body is more able to resist disease than a less well-fed body. My overall opinion is that there hasn't been enough experimentation to prove dietary deficiencies make one more susceptible to disease.' (Washington Post, October 26, 1949.)
This is nothing new for Dr. Nelson. Ten years ago he, with his group of experts, testified in a similar court, that neither degenerative disease, infectious disease, nor functional disease could result from any nutritional deficiency. For all these years, he has battled for the maker of devitalized foods, tried to stem the tide of public opinion against the use of white flour, refined sugar, pasteurized milk and imitation butter by vigorous prosecution of any maker of any dietary supplement designed to abate the consequences of using such devitalized food, basing his arguments on the thesis that there were no such things as deficiency diseases.
Truly, as Dr. Wiley sadly remarked in his book The History of a Crime Against the Pure Food Law (1930) the makers of unfit foods have taken possession of Food & Drug enforcement, and have reversed the effect of the law, protecting the criminals that adulterate foods, instead of protecting the public health."
Take Control of Your Diet and Your Health
It's time we started to make real change, and we need to take that upon ourselves first and foremost. You don't have to be a victim of corrupted food and health policy. Your diet is foundational for optimal health, and healthy eating is actually less complicated than most people think. Here's a quick and dirty summary. For a comprehensive, step-by-step program, please see my free optimized nutrition plan. If you're new to healthful living, these four basic steps alone can put you on the right path toward vastly improved health, regardless of how corrupted our government is:
Focus on raw, fresh foods, and avoid as many processed foods as possible (for those who still have trouble understanding what "processed food" is: if it comes in a can, bottle, or package, and has a list of ingredients, it's processed)
Avoid foods that contain fructose (check the label for ingredients like corn syrup or high fructose corn syrup.) Not only is excessive fructose consumption responsible for obesity and chronic disease, most processed fructose is made from genetically engineered corn
Limit or eliminate grain carbohydrates, and replace them with healthful fats, such as avocados, butter made from raw grass-fed organic milk, grass-fed meats and organic pastured eggs, coconuts and coconut oil, and raw nuts such as macadamia
Replace sodas and other sweetened beverages (whether diet or regular) with clean, pure water
Vote with Your Pocketbook, Every Day
The food companies on the left of this graphic spent tens of millions of dollars in the last two labeling campaigns—in California and Washington State—to prevent you from knowing what's in your food. You can send a message right back to the GMA and its members who tried to deceive you by illegally hiding their campaign contributions by switching to the brands on the right; all of whom stood behind the I-522 Right to Know campaign. Voting with your pocketbook, at every meal, matters. It makes a huge difference.