Guest post: Reply to Consumers Union

Guest post by Josh Spokes. An email from Consumers Union to members, and his reply.

Policy and Action from Consumer Reports

If you want the right to know, speak out now.

Monsanto is telling Senators you don’t need to know about GMOs in your food. We think you have the right to make up your own mind! Tell your Senators to support GMO labeling.

Take action

Dear Joshua,

If you want the right to know what’s in your food, now is the time to speak out. If you wait, you may forever be kept in the dark.

As you read this, Senators are writing a bill that could determine the fate of GMO food labeling. They will decide whether you get to know that the tortilla chips or breakfast cereals you’re buying and eating are genetically engineered.

Monsanto, DuPont, General Mills, Kellogg’s and other giant industrial food producers are telling Senators that you don’t need to know about GMOs in your food. We think you have the right to make up your own mind. If you agree, act now — once this bill is written it will be tough to change, and the vote will come soon.

Tell your Senators to support mandatory GMO labeling! Don’t let Monsanto keep you in the dark about what you’re eating.

The year-long Congressional fight over GMO labeling has come down to this moment. The House in July passed a horrible industry-backed bill that would ban federal GMO labeling and forever block your state from implementing its own labeling laws.

But if you speak out, your Senators can change this. They can pass their own bill by the end of the year to make sure your choices and rights aren’t taken away. Just as you now know which foods have been frozen or come from concentrate, requiring GMO ingredients on the label simply lets you choose what you want to eat.

And labeling is more important than ever: Now that the weed-killer associated with GMO crops has been designated as possibly causing cancer, don’t you think you have the right to make an informed choice about whether you want to eat GMO foods?

Senators are writing the bill now. Tell them to make sure it doesn’t take away your right to know what’s in your food!

After you act, please share this with others in your network so they can tell their Senators the same thing. And we will be back in touch soon to let you know how the bill turned out and next steps!


Jean Halloran, Consumers Union
Policy and Action from Consumer Reports

Josh’s reply:

As a longtime supporter of Consumers Union I am incredibly disappointed in your support for labeling GMOs. This is not an issue of “consumers’ right to know,” and I don’t think you’re that naive. This is a bogeyman issue that plays on legitimate consumer sentiment and twists it.

Labeling GMOS—which isn’t even honest, since every domesticated crop
is GMO, just not always by direct genetic manipulation—won’t give
consumers any information that will allow them to make any choices that
affect their health or safety. It will, however, give the government
imprimatur to the idea that GMOs are scary, harmful, and only invented
to make Monsanto rich, and that they have no benefits for ordinary
people. Indeed, you make it seem like they’re not only no benefit to
anyone, but that they’re actually a harm.

What is wrong with you on this count? You have always been the most
scrupulous researchers and consumer advocates, weighing evidence and
presenting it so that people can make informed decisions. You’re one of
the most powerful consumer organizations in the country, and everyone in
the US owes you a huge debt for the work you’ve done not only helping us
shop wisely, but holding product manufacturers accountable for dangerous

I suspect you must think that, because your demographic is
overwhelmingly liberal and left (I’m liberal and left, too, and I work
for a nonprofit consumer watchdog organization) that we must all be
scientifically ignorant. That we will support this issue because we
culturally identify with it as part of our NPR/Whole Foods tribe. That’s
insulting, and it’s cynical.

How about spending some of your considerable expertise debunking the
costly and often dangerous “health” bullshit that Whole Foods uses to
bilk gullible consumers out of hundreds of millions of dollars?

Do better. We have a right to expect it from you.

And I’d actually like an explanation for your policy, a well-reasoned
rationale. If you have published this somewhere, I’d be grateful for a

Joshua [Spokes]

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