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Time to Refresh: National Coalition Calls On Coca-Cola and Pepsi To Label GMOs… or Stop Using Them

GMO Inside Wants Soda Giants To Acknowledge Presence of GMOs In Their Soda and Other "Natural" Products

Submitted by: Green America

Categories: Health & Wellness, Corporate Social Responsibility

Posted: Mar 06, 2013 – 10:00 AM EST


WASHINGTON, Mar. 06 /CSRwire/ - It's no secret that sugary drinks and highly processed foods rank near the bottom when it comes to healthy choices; however, a national coalition is targeting US soda giants Coca-Cola and Pepsi for another unhealthy practice: their use of genetically modified ingredients (GMOs) in their products.

GMO Inside, a campaign dedicated to advancing the right of consumers to know whether or not foods are genetically engineered, is calling on Coca-Cola and Pepsi to label their GMO ingredients… or get GMOs completely out of their products.

GMO Inside is also calling attention to the fact that Coca-Cola and Pepsi have spent more than $4.1 million to derail GMO labeling in the US. There are now more than 60 countries which require GMO labeling, however the US is not one of them. Last fall, voters in California went to the polls to try to become the first state to allow for the statewide labeling of GMO ingredients. Despite growing consumer demand for labeling and popular public support for this proposition, Prop 37 was defeated, due to millions of dollars spent by major food and chemical companies. PepsiCo contributed $2,485,400 against Prop 37 and Coca-Cola spent $1,700,500.

High fructose corn syrup and sugar, the staple ingredients in any soda, are derived from two of the most extensively genetically engineered crops: corn and sugar beets. According to the Non-GMO Project, 95 percent of the sugar beet crop and more than 88 percent of the corn crop are now genetically modified in the US. Even diet options are not guaranteed to be non-GMO, as aspartame, the most common artificial sweetener, is made from a genetically modified bacteria.

“Over the past few years there has been an emphasis on healthier eating and cola sales are decreasing,” said Elizabeth O’Connell, Campaign Director for GMO Inside, “However, it’s extremely frustrating for consumers who think they are making healthier choices, like Tropicana or Simply, to learn that they are still consuming unhealthy ingredients like added sugar and high fructose corn syrup, and that these ingredients are likely to be genetically engineered.”

Beyond soda, these companies own a long list of juice brands often thought to be a better choice than soda. The Coca-Cola Company also owns Simply Orange, Vitamin Water, Powerade, Fruitopia, Minute Maid, Hi-C, Odwalla, and Zico. PepsiCo owns Tropicana, Lipton, Gatorade, and Naked Juice. Some of these soda alternatives contain high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors, sugar, and aspartame – and are therefore likely to contain genetically engineered ingredients.

Additionally, Pepsi owns Frito-Lay, and a host of other food brands: Aunt Jemima, Life Cereal, Hostess, Tostitos, and many others. Some products from Frito-Lay even go so far to be labeled "natural" despite containing genetically modified corn and vegetable oils, including corn, soybean, and canola.

GMOs have never been proven safe for consumption, and a growing body of studies is raising concerns around the health effects of eating them. GMOs are also increasing the use of toxic herbicides and causing harm to farmers in the US and abroad. Adding to this injustice is the fact that both Coca-Cola and Pepsi offer non-GMO versions of their products in Europe, where the labeling of genetically modified ingredients is required. (See Coke's UK product page.)

“As the number three contributor behind the campaign to defeat Prop 37, behind pesticide and biotech giants Monsanto and DuPont, Pepsi's contribution to the dishonest anti-GMO labeling campaign was a main reason that Americans are still denied their right to know what's in their food,” said Dave Murphy, Founder and Executive Director of Food Democracy Now! and Co-Chair of Prop 37, “Because of Pepsi and Coke’s financial support, Prop 37 and GMO labeling lost by a narrow margin of 48.6% to 51.4%. It’s time for companies like Coke and Pepsi to stop deceiving the American public and label GMOs like they do in more 62 other countries around the world.”

GMO Inside is urging consumers to take action against Coke and Pepsi online by signing this petition and leaving comments on their facebook walls -- and at the grocery store by choosing drinks and snacks without GMOs. Consumers can find non-GMO alternatives by looking for the Non-GMO Verified Project label or choosing food with certified organic labels.

To date, more than 15,000 consumers have taken action with GMO Inside against companies using GMOs including Monsanto, General Mills, Kellogg’s, Hershey, Mars, and others. In December 2012 the campaign and its 30,000 Facebook friends shut down the Cheerios Facebook page app with comments about GMOs.

Interested individuals can also sign Food Democracy Now's petition to boycott Pepsi.

GMO Inside is a coalition of businesses, organizations, and individuals that support a healthy, GMO-free food system. The GMO Inside steering committee is made up of the following organizations and individuals and convened by Green America:

Food Democracy Now! is a grassroots community dedicated to building a sustainable food system that protects our natural environment, sustains farmers and nourishes families. Food Democracy Now! members know we can build a food system that gives our communities equal access to healthy food, and respects the dignity of the farmers who produce it. We believe in recreating regional food systems, supporting the growth of humane, natural and organic farms, and protecting the environment.

GMO Free USA works to harness education, advocacy, and bold action to foster consumer rejection of genetically modified organisms, until they are proven safe. They support the labeling of GMO foods with the ultimate goal of getting GMOs out of the food supply and environment. Their current campaign focuses on engaging Kellogg’s to get GMOs out of their entire product line.

Green America is the nation’s leading green economy organization. Founded in 1982, Green America (formerly Co-op America) provides the economic strategies, organizing power and practical tools for businesses, investors, and individuals to solve today’s social and environmental problems. www.GreenAmerica.org

Institute for Responsible Technology (IRT) is a world leader in educating policy makers and the public about the documented risks of GM foods and crops, as well as the problems associated with current research, regulation, corporate practices, and reporting. IRT’s founder, Jeffrey M. Smith, is an international bestselling author, filmmaker, and the leading spokesperson on the health dangers of GMOs. He documents how the world’s most powerful Ag biotech companies bluff and mislead critics, and put the health of society at risk.

Label GMOs advocates for transparency in the food supply and for clear and concise labeling of genetically modified organisms. They are the California grassroots network that helped to lay the groundwork for Proposition 37. Label GMOs continues to educate in California and provide support for other on the ground grassroots GMO labeling efforts throughout the US.

Nutiva® is dedicated to a healthy and sustainable world, demonstrating its mission to nourish people and planet by using delicious organic ingredients, enriching the soil, and donating 1 percent of sales to sustainable-agriculture groups. Founded in 1999, Nutiva is the world’s best-selling brand of nutritious organic hemp foods, extra-virgin coconut oil, and chia seeds. Fifteen thousand retailers in the United States, Canada, and the European Union offer Nutiva products, including Whole Foods, Sprouts, Vitamin Shoppe, GNC, Publix, Safeway, Loblaws, and Amazon.com. Nutiva is located in Richmond, California. For more information, visit www.nutiva.com.

Vani Hari is a management consultant, food activist writer and a two time elected North Carolina delegate, endorsed by President Obama. Vani started foodbabe.com in April 2011 to spread information about what is really in the American food supply. She teaches people how to make the right purchasing decisions at the grocery store, how to live an organic lifestyle, and how to travel healthfully around the world. The success in her writing and investigative work can be seen in the way food companies react to her uncanny ability to find and expose the truth. She been featured in the Washington Times, NY Times, Lawyers Weekly, Prevention.com, NBC – WCNC, ABC – WLOS, and profiled in Charlotte Observer.

For more information, please contact:

Elizabeth O'Connell Campaign Director
Phone: 202-872-5309
Phone 2: 704-582-3634
Twitter: @GMOinside


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