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Home / Articles / Views / The Highroad /  Making consumer protection into corporate protection
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Thursday, February 27,2014

Making consumer protection into corporate protection

By Jim Hightower

The giants of food manufacturing are very concerned about you. They fear you could come down with a terrible plague called “consumer confusion” — and these selfless corporate entities are going all out to save you from it.

The altruistic corporations say that this plague emanates from the grimy and untrustworthy grassroots. Indeed, several states intend to require food manufacturers that put genetically modified organisms in their products to include that information on their labels. Labeling advocates note that, since millions of consumers don’t want their families eating foods with altered DNA, putting the phrase “Contains GMO Ingredients” on the packages will let every shopper decide whether to buy that product or not. It seems both simple and honest. “No way,” shout lobbyists for the food adulterators. One, they claim that such efforts would create “a patchwork of state labeling laws,” inflicting confusion on consumers. Also, they say the labels might further spread confusion by implying that the genetically tampered ingredients are, well, tampered with by corporate engineers.

So, the benevolent corporations are lobbying Congress to save you from confusion by autocratically preempting the states’ authority to write consumer protection laws. Instead, the industry demands that a federal agency be directed to create a national labeling program that would take precedence over all state laws. Not that the national GMO label would be mandatory. No, no — it would be voluntary, so each corporation could decide for itself whether to tell consumers what’s in their food.

I was born at night, but it wasn’t last night. No consumer is so confused as to believe that even a single GMO user would “volunteer” to be honest with us. Anything less than mandatory GMO labeling is flagrant consumer fraud.

Respond: letters@boulderweekly.com

This opinion column does not necessarily reflect the views of Boulder Weekly.

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