“GMO Inside” Campaign Launched As Flow of “Natural” Class Action Lawsuits Continues

Voters may have defeated Prop 37, which would have required the labeling of foods with GMO ingredients, but the issue of GMO ingredients is definitely not going away.  Two days after the election, supporters of Prop 37 launched GMO Inside, a coalition dedicated to help consumers identify GMO ingredients in their foods.  Members of GMO Inside’s steering committee include Food Democracy Now!, Green America, Institute for Responsible Technology, Foodbabe, Nature’s Path and Nutiva.  The press release announcing the coalition included the following statement:

“Corporations may have misled voters in California about GMOs, but they can’t change the fact that over 90 percent of Americans support the labeling of foods with genetically engineered ingredients,” said Alisa Gravitz, CEO of Green America.  “The GMO Inside campaign will make it possible for all Americans to find GMOs in the food products in their homes and communities, label them, and switch to non-GMO foods instead.  The campaign will show corporations that people will not complacently serve as lab rats for the testing of genetically engineered foods.”

Food companies were also reminded last week that litigation is a key tool of anti-GMO advocates by the filing of yet another class action complaint alleging that a product touted as “natural” is deceptively labeled because it is made with GMO ingredients.  This time, Pepperidge Farm, Inc. (owned by Campbell Soup, Co.) is the target of a putative class action suit filed in federal court in Colorado alleging that Pepperidge Farm “has mistakenly or misleadingly represented that its Cheddar Goldfish crackers … are ‘Natural,’ when in fact, they are not, because they contain Genetically Modified Organisms … in the form of soy and/or soy derivatives.”   See the entire complaint here.

As the above image shows, however, the product is not described as “All Natural” or “100% Natural” and its “Natural” claim is somewhat qualified by the “No Artificial Preservatives” statement.  A key issue will thus be whether a reasonable consumer perceives this language as a qualification or instead views “Natural” in this context as synonymous with “100% Natural.”

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