One (More) Reason to Despise the Pet Food Industry

As if you need another reason to hate the pet food industry, I just found one more reason to today.

When the Senate voted 49-48 to block a bill best described as the Denying Americans the Right to Know (DARK) Act, which would have prevented states from passing their own GMO labeling requirements and stop pending state GMO labeling laws like Vermont’s from going into effect, America cheered: Big Food had been beaten.

But Big Pet Food wasn’t happy. In response to their loss, the pet food industry wasted no time in expressing their continued support of any action that would keep Americans in the dark.

The American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) has made no secret that they unabashedly backed the passage of DARK. They showed their unflagging support for U.S. Senator Pat Roberts renewed effort to keep DARK alive, in a recent headline they cried, AFIA Urges Senate to Support Sen. Roberts Substitute to Improve S. 2609. A bill they all but swore was the answer to their anti-labeling prayers, cheered, the “AFIA and the animal food industry welcome this bill with open arms as we seek a solution to this ongoing delimma.

The legislation from Roberts would have banned state GMO labeling requirements and replace them with a national “voluntary labeling system.” Robert’s bill, S. 2609, sought to thwart state labeling efforts with one sentence:

“No State … may directly or indirectly establish under any authority or continue in effect as to any food in interstate commerce any requirement for a food that is the subject of the bioengineered food labeling standard under this section that is not identical to that voluntary standard.”

Meanwhile, the other pet food industry group, the Pet Food Institute (PFI), issued a statement commending Sen. Roberts, thanking him for his leadership in light of differing state laws governing labeling of GMOs.

Because, as they said, that GMOs are a “critical tool in the effort to meet the daunting challenging of producing sufficient food for a growing global population in a manner that is environmentally sustainable.

What does that say about the pet food industry to you on a personal level? Does it makes you wonder whose interests they have at heart? Is it yours or your pets? Mmmm…Not exactly.

Proclaiming their anti-GMO labeling campaign efforts are purely altruistic, they say that if it weren’t for GMOs the world would starve to death. And besides, they’re just trying to keep you from being misled, and confused by all those labels. But worse of all, they say if they are forced to label their GMO products, they’ll have no choice but to charge you a whole lot extra for the bother.

“If Congress implements a national law requiring a uniformed standard like what is contained in this bill, the food industry, animal food industry, farmers and consumers will share equal protection from unnecessary costs and different state mandated labeling requirements,” said Leah Wilkinson, AFIA vice president of legislative, regulatory and state affairs.

Not surprisingly, both the PFI and the AFIA are vehemently opposed to Vermont’s mandatory GMO labeling law, because it requires transparency.

Essentially, because it “requires food for humans containing genetically engineered ingredients to display front-of-package labels,” complained AFIA President and CEO Joel G. Newman who opposes “any amendment intended to derail or delay this important legislation, or which seeks to impose federal labeling of any food containing genetically engineered ingredients.

To cement the pet food industry’s commitment to their opposition of mandatory GMO labeling, both the AFIA and the PFI along with the National Grain and Feed Association joined the Coalition for Safe Affordable Food (CFSAF), a deceitful campaign meant to frighten consumers into thinking they will be driven into the poor house if the pro-GMO companies are forced to label their products.

Warning that, “if a labeling solution is not agreed upon…the feed industry’s cost of doing business goes up, on-farm production costs go up, and ultimately the consumer pays the price.” Threatening that consumers will have bear their financial burden, because, “labeling of GM products will cost American families up to $1050 more in groceries annually, with low-income families bearing the brunt of the changes!

The alarmist messages virtually scream from CFSAF’s website:

Time is Running Out!

  • $1050 Spike In Food Prices!
  • 48 Million Americans At Risk From Food Insecurity!
  • Contact Congress Demand A Uniform, National Food Labeling Standard!
  • Confusion and Costly Red Tape!
  • Stop the Growing, 50-state Patchwork of Mandatory State Labeling Laws!
  • Raising the Cost of Food for Families by up to $1,050 per Year!
  • Your Grocery Bill Will Rise by 105%!

But, Campbell Soup, which was the first major United States food company to say it would add information about genetically altered ingredients to all its products by 2018, has said it does not expect labeling to add significantly to its costs.

And General Mills just announced that they too are hopping on the transparency train by labeling their GMO products too. Will they start charging an arm and a leg for cereal? I doubt it. In fact, they say labeling their food now will save them money in the end: General Mills says it would be too expensive to comply separately with one state’s law.

So, who do you believe?

Despite their initial loss, the pro-GMO bullies won’t go down without a fight, they have already invested too much money and they have too much to lose. Rest assured, the GMO monster will rise again from the pile of dead bills to haunt consumers again. But, don’t despair, there is a safe place to hide from the GMOs: The Non-GMO Project.

Why don’t you head on over to the Non-GMO Project and see which animal feed and pet food companies are committed to helping you avoid GMOs by visiting their list of Non-GMO Project Verified pet products and animal feed supply products.

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Mollie Morrissette

Mollie Morrissette, author of Poisoned Pets, is an animal food safety expert and advisor to AAFCO. Help support her work by making a donation today.

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