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GMO Industry: The Dumbest Guys in the Room

I am now convinced the GMO industry has managed to hire the worst public relations strategists in human history. By supporting a deeply flawed GMO labeling bill in the U.S. Congress--some would say intentionally deeply flawed--the industry is about to open a Pandora's Box of PR nightmares for years to come.

First, a little background. GMO, of course, means genetically modified organism, which more properly refers to genetically engineered crops and animals. GMO industry leader Monsanto (NYSE:MON) and its competitors such as Bayer (DE:BAYGN), Dupont, Dow Chemical (NYSE:DOW) and Sygenta have all been fighting a fierce battle in the United States against labeling foodstuffs derived from genetically engineered crops.

July 11, 2016 | Source: Investing.com | by Kurt Cobb

I am now convinced the GMO industry has managed to hire the worst public relations strategists in human history. By supporting a deeply flawed GMO labeling bill in the U.S. Congress–some would say intentionally deeply flawed–the industry is about to open a Pandora’s Box of PR nightmares for years to come.

First, a little background. GMO, of course, means genetically modified organism, which more properly refers to genetically engineered crops and animals. GMO industry leader Monsanto (NYSE:MON) and its competitors such as Bayer (DE:BAYGN), Dupont, Dow Chemical (NYSE:DOW) and Sygenta have all been fighting a fierce battle in the United States against labeling foodstuffs derived from genetically engineered crops.

After defeating statewide labeling referendums in California, Oregon and Washington, they failed to stop the implementation of Vermont’s GMO labeling law which went into effect July 1.

In desperation the companies have been trying to get the U.S. Congress to pass a nationwide labeling law–one that is considerably less stringent and also riddled with loopholes–that would pre-empt Vermont’s law. Just last week the Senate approved its version of the labeling law. If the House and Senate can work out their differences, we may see such a law signed by President Obama before too long.

The industry’s main complaint has been that labeling GMOs would unfairly stigmatize them in the minds of consumers. Some 64 countries already require such labeling. What concerns the industry is that increased consumer awareness could create a movement that would lead to a ban on the cultivation of GMO crops, a ban already implemented by 19 countries in Europe.