The Great Organic Deceivers

August 21, 2012
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i_want_my_organic_coke_by_koert_van_mensvoortWhich organic brands really believe in organic—and which are working behind the scenes to betray natural health consumers?

Many natural and organic brands are actually owned by huge conglomerates that don’t support sustainable, organic, non-GMO, non-toxic agriculture. In fact, their product labels are often designed to mislead consumers just so they can grab a share of the lucrative health-conscious consumer market.

Even worse, many of the conglomerate companies that produce so-called natural foods—and even some labeled “organic”—are allied with the biotech industry fighting by any means to defeat “Label GMO,” a.k.a. Prop 37, the California Right to Know 2012 Ballot Initiative. Why are they doing such a thing? Because they sell more food that has GMO ingredients than organic food, and don’t want consumers to have a choice about the GMO. They especially don’t want consumers to know what is actually in their so-called “natural” products.

Keep in mind that the term “natural” has no legal or regulatory meaning at all: FDA has never created a definition for it and claims that “it is difficult to define a food product that is ‘natural’ because the food has probably been processed and is no longer the product of the earth.” In fact, FDA even says high-fructose corn syrup is natural! “Natural” is nothing more than a marketing term, one that is in fact meaningless.

You’d think a “natural” food wouldn’t have genetically engineered ingredients, but you’d be wrong. Kashi, which everywhere proclaims its passion for “healthy, all-natural foods,” has GMO soy in its ingredients. Kashi is owned by Kellogg, the multinational food manufacturing company that produces everything from sugary cereals to Morningstar Farms vegetarian products (some of which are organic but still use GMOs) to Keebler cookies (filled with GMOs). The company has contributed $612,000 to defeat Prop 37 and keep GMO labels off their products.

Sierra Mist Natural wears that moniker proudly because their soda is “made with real sugar and 100% natural flavors”! The brand is owned by PepsiCo, which has contributed more than $1 million to defeat Prop 37.

What you may not realize is that many organic brands have been snapped up by Big Food companies; their ownership is deliberately hidden from consumers. While they purport to have an environmental and health-conscious mission, they completely undercut that claim by fighting GMO labeling. Honest Tea, for example, is USDA-certified organic. Yet Honest Tea is owned by Coca-Cola, which has also contributed more than $1 million to defeat Label GMO. We don’t think that’s very honest. Coke also owns Odwalla, which produces “all-natural juices” and “nourishing protein bars,” and supposedly supports sustainable agriculture. GMO is sustainable agriculture?

Silk carries the “Non-GMO Project Verified” seal on its soy milk, coconut milk, and almond milk products. Both Silk and the Horizon Organic brand tell their customers that the brands oppose GMOs. Yet both are owned by Dean Foods, which has contributed $253,000 to defeat Label GMO.

Lightlife vegan and vegetarian foods is owned by ConAgra, which contributed $520,000. Seeds of Change, the organic seed and food company, is owned by candy giant Mars, which contributed $100,242 to defeat Label GMO. General Mills, which owns Cascadian Farms Organic, Muir Glen, and Larabar, contributed $520,000. Smucker, which owns R.W. Knudsen and Santa Cruz Organic, contributed $387,000. The State of California has a website where you can see exactly which companies are fighting hardest to keep their GMO foods from being labeled.

What about groups like the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association), and the Organic Trade Association? Surely they’re all about protecting consumers from GMOs, right? No. Both of these organizations are funded by the very same Big Food companies that have made contributions to defeat the Label GMO initiative.

Back in 1994, Norman Braksick, president of Asgrow Seed Co., a subsidiary of Monsanto, told the Kansas City Star, “If you put a label on genetically engineered food, you might as well put a skull and crossbones on it.” And that’s precisely what Big Food is so afraid of. Consumers will generally avoid GMOs if they can, and they won’t buy foods containing them. Can you imagine the consumer outrage if the labels on their favorite “natural” foods suddenly declare that their ingredients are genetically engineered?

The Cornucopia Institute has developed a shoppers’ guide to help you tell the sheep from the wolves in this battle.

75 Responses to “The Great Organic Deceivers”

  1. crusty says:

    do not trust anything usda organic, and never trust anything coming in from overseas – especially china that says it’s organic.
    organics have to get back to local grass roots certification like it was before the feds took it over.
    a new movement is starting, it’s called government free organics.
    true organic farmers growing and raising real organic products.


  2. JoAnn says:

    In the article, the author stated, “Kashi is owned by Kellogg, the multinational food manufacturing company that produces everything from sugary cereals to Morningstar Farms vegetarian products (some of which are organic but still use GMOs)…”

    Actually, if a product has GMOs in it, then it is by definition, NOT organic. It may use organic ingredients, but once GMOs are used the final product is no longer organic.

    From the Washington State Department of Agriculture (which follows the USDA requirements – whose website is currently down b/c of the federal shutdown):
    For crop farms –
    • 3 years with no application of prohibited materials (no synthetic fertilizers, pesticides,
    or GMOs) prior to harvest of the first certified organic crop;
    For livestock operations –
    • No antibiotics, growth hormones, slaughter byproducts, or GMOs;
    For processing operations –
    • No commingling or contamination of organic products during processing;
    • Implementation of an Organic Handling Plan;
    • No use of GMOs or irradiation;


  3. jasmine says:

    I’m very disapointed becuse i was buying horizon brand hoping it is organic i dont know what to trust any more is there another way to find out about this organic companies if they really have organic products or not i still belive that seeds used in this products are gmo i saw organic strawberrys in whole food which was huge and shinny why a organic strawberry should be that size i dont trust labeling i think companies they pay alot to get that label this is new way of frud in industeri


  4. DrunkenUFOPilot says:

    So, what do the executives at Kellogg’s, PepsiCo, Monsanto etc etc and their families eat for their breakfasts lunches and dinners?


  5. There is a difference between GMO and Organic. Organic is the natural method used to raise the crop. GMO is the source of the seed. Therefore GMO can be organic by the method by which the crop was nurtured. You want heritage seeds that are organically raised to be free of GMO. We are expedient to profit.


  6. Daisy says:

    To answer Sunny: I don’t think the article is trying to say that there are GMO in these company’s organic products. The shopper’s guide at the end informs you of the organic brands that are owned by Big Ag (against GMO labeling) vs. those that support GMO labelling in a true spirit of organics and consumer rights. The ‘Big Ag Organic’s’ products are still organic (as the USDA organic label certifies), but they are owned by companies and people that do not support organics by principle.


  7. Sunny Holmes says:

    Does this mean that a brand such as Santa Cruz Organics which has USDA certified organic on it’s label we cannot trust to be that? Are they lying? They seemed to not take a firm stand on GMO labeling, of course, because their parent company, Smuckers, is against it. I want to know, should be boycott brands such as this, and can we trust them to be truly organic and not contain GMOs?


  8. Denotchka says:

    All the more reason we need Proposal 37.


  9. richaard says:

    how does one unsubscribe to anh-usa and why is this info not on this page or on any page?!


    • ANH-USA says:

      Hi Richaard–To unsubscribe, please scroll to the bottom of the newsletter email and click “Unsubscribe or change email preferences here.”


  10. Robin Brooks says:

    First of all, our country is not a democracy – it is a republic. It is run by representatives who are supposed to stand for the will of their constituents. Secondly, make fresh foods only. Do not buy processed foods. Coca Cola can also be used to de-calcify your dishwasher, and it is full of phosphorus which will destroy your kidneys. The human digestive system has not evolved quickly enough to digest GMO foods, which accounts for the sudden widespread allergies to peanuts, gluten, and many other foods that when untampered are just fine on the gut. Garlic used to contain enzymes that enabled it to preserve itself. Those enzymes have been bred out of it. Don’t buy store-bought almond or rice milk- it contains a form of vitamin A which sounds good but is really an undigestible substance that is used as a preservative, not a nutrient. It is so easy to make your own. Do your homework.


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