Consumers Are Clear. No GMOs in 'Natural'
Whose job is it to decide if food manufacturers can use the word “natural” on food containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and other unnatural additives or artificial ingredients? The courts? Or the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA)?
The jury’s still out, but this much is clear. Consumers are driving the demand for honest labeling.
In July, a California court slapped PepsiCo with a $9-million settlement for adding a synthetic fiber material to some types of Naked Juice. The suit also accused Pepsi of using GMO ingredients in some Naked Juice products. Pepsi denied the GMO allegation, but didn’t deny adding the synthetic fiber.
The PepsiCo settlement signaled a pro-consumer trend. But then a U.S. District Judge in California set a new precedent by putting a hold on a similar class action against Irving-based Gruma Corp., which sells tortillas, guacamole and other products under the brand name Mission. Gruma was sued for claiming their tortillas, containing GMOs, were “all natural.” Rather than rule, the judge hearing the case punted, saying that it was the FDA’s job, not the court’s, to define “natural.”
Will other courts follow the California judge’s lead, putting a damper on similar class action suits? Maybe not. In two recent and similar class action cases, one against J.M. Smucker and the other involving Frito-Lay, the courts have ruled that the cases can go forward. No waiting on the FDA.
What do you think? Should the courts keep ruling against companies that intentionally mislead consumers? Or should the FDA put an end to deceptive labeling practices? It might take consumer pressure in all directions to get the job done.
Take Action: Tell the FDA: GMOs Aren’t Natural!