The irony is so thick you could cut it with a dull kitchen knife.
The Organic Consumers Association has put out a press release accusing USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack of fear-mongering. Secretary Vilsack made comments recently regarding the importance of Congress passing a national fix to the GMO labeling debacle. (For the record, I support a national, standard label that would create a FDA non-GMO label, not a mandatory GMO label.)
Vilsack’s comments related to the Vermont GMO labeling law that will take effect on July 1, 2016. As Vilsack rightly pointed out, the law is a hot mess. It is inconsistent, confusing, and misleading. Interpretation of the labeling law is difficult and will be difficult for companies to implement. Without federal intervention, the law will go into effect and essentially create a national GMO labeling standard.
But the OCA thinks these very frank statements are somehow fear-mongering.
The whole thing is highly ironic, of course, because organic marketing thrives on fear-based marketing and scaring consumers into purchasing organic products. In September of 2015, I joined with other agriculture bloggers to combat a smear campaign against conventional farmers run by Only Organic called the “Organic Festival.” Our #FactsNotFear campaign took on the absolutely ridiculous and terrible accusations that the marketing conglomerate was unfairly throwing at our conventional family farmers. Only Organic was also responsible for the New McDonald campaign, which was a sick video that exploited children to promote an anti-modern agriculture narrative.
The Organic Consumers Association is no stranger to such marketing tactics.
They regularly engage in the usual organic marketing tricks. Parents should purchase organic food to protect their kids from toxic pesticides. Round-Up, one of the least toxic herbicides available, is poisoning worms and whales. GMO salmon is dangerous and terrible – even the FDA took 20 years to make sure it was safe. Heck, they tried to convince people that the Box Tops for Education campaign is simply a way to hook your family to GMOs.
The OCA recently tried to convince people that it was the use of Monsanto-related pesticides that were causing the birth defects in South American children, not the zika virus as scientists have concluded. (This is so false.)
They attempted to convince people that Chipotle, who was struggling with a string of food borne illness outbreaks, was actually sabotaged by Monsanto and corporate interests. They’re still trying to convince people of such outrageous conspiracy theories!
Of course, the very point of GMO labeling laws is to instill fear in people! As the anti-GMO movement has pointed out over and over again, the goal of these labels is to, ultimately, ban the technology. They plan on achieving this by putting a label on the products, telling people how terrible GMOs are (a part of the plan they started a long time ago), and drive down the market demand for products containing GMOs. Before long, there will no market for biotech crops and they will have achieved their goals.
I just can’t believe that the organization that thrives on fear-mongering is actually suggesting Secretary Vilsack was fear-mongering because he pointed out legitimate and real concerns about Vermont’s labeling law. The whole point of their GMO labeling campaign is fear-mongering! These guys are the masters of deception and their campaign against GMOs is a prime example.
Secretary Vilsack absolutely right – we need Congress to act before the law goes into effect. Otherwise, organizations like the Organic Consumers Association will win…and that’s something I actually fear!