Food Industry Heavyweights Spend Big To Lobby Against Transparency

August 26, 2015

The public's right to know about what it is eating comes up often in regulatory agencies, Congress and state legislatures. But transparency is often defeated by heavy lobbying from food industry groups.

The Environmental Working Group, which for years has applied data to environmental advocacy, made a count of funding disclosed in standard lobbying reports. They found that food industry groups spent some $51.6 million in the first half of 2015 alone to lobby against state and federal legislation that would require labeling of foods that contain genetically modified ingredients.

The battleground over transparency on food origins and ingredients is much wider than that, though, as journalist Elizabeth Grossman points out in a recent piece in Civil Eats. It includes labeling food products for country-of-origin or the use of pesticides.

The state-by-state GMO-labeling struggles have proceeded both via ballot measures and state legislation — with transparency being defeated most of the time. The House recently passed a bill (HR 1599) that would make any state GMO-labeling law illegal.

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