Thanks to companies like Monsanto and its friends in the federal government, it’s nearly impossible to know whether foods and beverages contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Apparently, it’s up to big corporations to decide what we eat, and not us.
In response to public outcry, however, some companies have begun voluntarily alerting us to the presence of GMOs in their products. In most cases, companies go to great lengths to show that their product is GMO-free, because they know people are more likely to buy it than an unlabeled product.
Sadly, however, it’s now become evident that some labels claiming “No GMOs” can’t be trusted.
Naked Juice, a subsidiary of Pepsi Co., recently settled a lawsuit alleging that it falsely advertised some of its juice and smoothie products as “all natural” and not genetically modified. While the company officially maintains its innocence, it has established a $9 million settlement fund for consumers who feel that they were duped by this marketing scam.
“Members of the putative nationwide class will each be eligible under the proposed agreement to recover a maximum of $45 dollars,” explains Lexology.com. “The agreement will also require Naked Juice to establish a product verification program, hire or assign a quality control manager to oversee the independent testing process for the company’s product line, establish a database to allow the electronic tracking and verification of product ingredients.”
As part of the settlement, Naked Juice will also be forced to remove the term “All Natural” and all related statements from its packaging.
For those fighting for transparent labeling in the food industry, this is a big win, albeit a sad one. Unbeknownst to much of the public, terms like “natural” aren’t regulated in any way, and can be slapped on just about any product that companies want to make seem healthy or environmentally-friendly. As EatDrinkBetter points out, “A wide assortment of products, ranging from Skinnygirl Cocktails to Frito Lay’s SunChips to Wesson Oil, have been guilty of this marketing ploy.”
Although Naked Juice will no longer be able to hide behind the natural, no-GMO label, there are undoubtedly millions of people who won’t notice the difference, and will continue consuming their products thinking they’re doing something beneficial for their bodies.
While the war over GMO labeling wages on at the State and Federal level, the best weapon against deceitful companies like Naked Juice is education. Take a moment to read the post “Which Food Labels Mean What They Say?” and share this post with any friends who might purchase Naked Juice.
Image via Jeff Taylor/Wikimedia Commons