"The Big Money Battle to Sway Americans’ Food Choices"

"New report says food industry groups spend big and 'spin' the truth to turn U.S. consumers away from organic."

"When it comes to food in America, we’re witnessing a sea change. Organic sales jumped 11 percent last year. Meanwhile about 84 percent of U.S. consumers now say they buy at least some organic food and two-thirds of Americans are in favor of requiring labeling on products containing genetically modified (GMO) ingredients. So it’s not surprising that some large food companies are spending money to coax consumers back to their side of the aisle.

What might be surprising is just how much they’re spending. According to a new report released by Friends of the Earth (FOE), a group of organizations or 'front groups' associated with producers of conventional and genetically engineered food spent $126 million on these efforts between 2009 and 2013.

The report, Spinning Food, looks at spending by 14 groups associated with agricultural chemical, processed food and industrial livestock producers, and their trade associations. Rather than aiming their lobbying efforts at elected officials, these groups target consumers, hoping to sway them with highly persuasive websites, social media and targeted messaging campaigns. While each campaign is different, most tout the benefits of GMOs, work to debunk what they call the 'exaggerated benefits of organic food,' and attempt to separate 'fact from fiction on all things food.'"

Elizabeth Grossman reports for Civil Eats July 2, 2015.

Source: Civil Eats, 07/03/2015