The GMO Labeling Wars, As Seen on TV

The GMO labeling wars have peaked.  With multiple organizations staking their position, Vermont mandating labeling and Campbell's breaking ranks with the Grocery Manufacturers Association to support GMO labeling on their products, it comes as no surprise that TV ads have started running.

Two were reported this morning by Politico, one from the Coalition for Safe and Affordable Food, the other from the Center for Food Safety.

Here's the ad from the Coalition for Safe and Affordable Food:

Their messaging? Keep prices low, support farmers, we need a national standard. 

When you go to their website, you learn that this group wants VOLUNTARY standards, and highlights the benefits of biotech/GMOs.  They are supported by tons of industry and farm associations across the U.S.  Take a look at the list, here.

Here's the ad from the Center for Food Safety. 

Their messaging?  Some foods are labeled, but all should be.  Consumers have a right to know, just like in other countries.  Don't fall for gimmicks like QR codes.  Center for Food Safety, by contrast, is an environmental non-profit run by this Board of Directors.   The BOD includes a documentarian and someone from the Rainforest Action Network, among others.

I find the framing of these two ads fascinating.  On the surface, you can't really tell which group is pushing for stringent, required standards.  But if you drill down, take a look at the supporters, the websites and of course, the policy "ask" it becomes clear fast that these two orgs are on opposite sides of the table.

Secretary Vilsack, who this week is attempting to bring these two disparate sides together, has quite the task cut out for him.