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)
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:
- 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.
- 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 GMO-compass.org, 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: