Tropicana Non GMO Label Just a Marketing Gimmick (Part 1)

It’s no secret that organic and non-GMO foods are increasing in popularity every year.  According to the Organic Trade Association, sales of organic food and non-GMO food products in the United States broke another record in 2014, totaling $39.1 billion, up 11.3 percent from the previous year.  We’ll likely see an additional increase in 2015 as well, and now the Tropicana brand wants a piece of the action.  (NOTE: Tomorrow we’ll discuss a second reason why Non-GMO Verified is just a marketing gimmick, related to the false advertising lawsuits currently underway vs PepsiCo)

Non-GMO Tropicana

Tropicana, soon to be labeled Non-GMO ,a useless label considering every other 100% pure OJ in existence is also GMO free. Original image:

Early next year, the label from the Non-GMO Project, the largest third-party verification program of GMO-free foods out there, will be featured on Tropicana Pure Premium orange juices and a number of other products. While Tropicana won’t be the first PepsiCo brand to have its products verified as GMO-free by a third party—Naked Juice bottles already bear a Non-GMO Project label—it is the largest.

But this Non-GMO labeling is ironic for two reasons:

  1. PepsiCo, Tropicana’s parent company, has spent $9 million campaigning against state-level mandatory labeling laws, according to the advocacy group Just Label It, and another $11 million lobbying for a federal bill that would preempt local labeling laws and create a voluntary labeling program for GMO-free foods. Critics cry irony because the company only wants to label foods when it’s to its advantage.
  2. There’s zero chance an orange will be genetically modified because oranges haven’t been approved for commercial production.

However, there has been large-scale field testing on citrus trees that have been genetically engineered to resist citrus greening, a ruinous disease that has caused orange production to plummet to its lowest levels in decades.  These oranges’ genomes have been modified to include a gene from spinach plants, which produces a protein that makes citrus trees inhospitable to the bacteria that cause citrus greening.

But testing is as far as it has gone, and according to, the commercial utilization of genetically modified citrus fruits cannot be expected in the short or long-term future. So the Tropicana Non GMO label is only there to entice the growing wave of health-conscious consumers, not to offer any real advantage to the public.  To GMO labeling opponents who say a “contains genetically modified ingredients” label offers little value to consumers, this GMO Free label offers even less value.

To read the article in full, visit:

To read more about the citrus greening destroying the U.S. orange production, see:

Author: renezimbelman

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