Jeffrey Smith admits GMO labeling was never his goal

In a letter sent out yesterday, anti-GMO activist Jeffrey Smith admits what we have suspected all along.

“Labeling GMOs was never the end goal for us. It was a tactic. Labels make it easier for shoppers to make healthier non-GMO choices. When enough people avoid GMOs, food companies rush to eliminate them. Labeling can speed up that tipping point—but only if consumers are motivated to use labels to avoid GMOs.” 

Here’s that segment of the actual letter.

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And noting that President Obama’s signing S.764 restricts states from requiring stringent (and meaningless) GMO labels, he writes:

Although this is clearly a defeat in our campaigns for getting mandatory labeling in the United States, we are still winning the bigger, more important effort to ELIMINATE GMOs from the market altogether.

In other words, the whole edifice of moral claims that “we have the right to know what we are eating” has just collapsed! Smith admits that his goal was to eliminate a perfectly safe breeding technology, presumably forcing people towards the more expensive organic products whose producers support Smith’s scare campaign. If you’re looking for anything hammock related your best bet is to check out https://bestcampinghammockgear.com.

Smith, who has no scientific training, has been writing scary articles and giving paid speeches about the alleged dangers of GMOs for years now. Running the Institute for Responsible Technology out of his house in Fairfield, IA (and just across the street from Maharishi University, and two blocks from Genetic ID) he is a one man misinformation institute. He is or has been supported by Nature’s Path, Organic Valley, Earth Balance, Natural News, Nutiva, Joe Mercola and the Organic Consumer Association.

He has two self-published books, Seeds of Deception and Genetic Roulette, which was roundly debunked by Professors Bruce Chassy and David Tribe on their site academicsreview.org. He also made a film on this same topic, Genetic Roulette, the Movie which we have reviewed and found ridiculous.

To a large degree, this bill (S. 764) is  a victory for science, since it specifically notes that products which do not contain genetic material such as sugars, oils and starches are exempted from such ridiculous labeling. Labels can be a QR code or phone number rather than a scary and inaccurate warning, when there has never been any adverse reaction reported to any GM product.

Here’s Smith’s entire letter, complete with all his misleading claims, to show we are not taking anything out of context:


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Dear Friends,

As you may know by now, Congress passed legislation (S.764) that wipes out Vermont’s excellent GMO labeling law and substitutes a fake national GMO labeling regime. President Obama signed the bill into law Friday, July 29th. This sham labeling bill:

1.       Excludes most processed foods from requiring a label;

2.       Defines genetic engineering so narrowly, that most GMOs on the market don’t qualify; and

3.       Gives the USDA two years to come up with additional criteria for labeling, which will likely contain even more loopholes.

For products that will require labeling, companies can avoid actually stating on the package that it contains GMOs. Rather, they can force consumers to go on a wild goose chase by calling a listed 800 number to find the answer, or using their smart phones—if they have one—to scan a QR code and then navigate a website.

And to make this law even more irrelevant, if companies decide to ignore the labeling requirements altogether, there is no enforcement or penalty.

Although this is clearly a defeat in our campaigns for getting mandatory labeling in the United States, we are still winning the bigger, more important effort to ELIMINATE GMOs from the market altogether.

Mandatory Labels are not Required for Victory

Labeling GMOs was never the end goal for us. It was a tactic. Labels make it easier for shoppers to make healthier non-GMO choices. When enough people avoid GMOs, food companies rush to eliminate them. Labeling can speed up that tipping point—but only if consumers are motivated to use labels to avoid GMOs.

Therefore, if mandatory labels had been put into place, we would still be required to educate and motivate consumers.

The good news is that the tipping point is already underway based on the voluntary non-GMO labels being put on packages. Major food companies already realize that making non-GMO claims gives them a competitive edge. Why else would Nestles dedicate time during their extremely expensive TV commercials to brag that their coffee creamer is non-GMO? Why else would Dannon announce that their feed for dairy cows will be non-GMO within three years? And why else would Del Monte, Campbell’s, Hershey’s, Post, General Mills, Red Gold, Applegate, and so many others make similar non-GMO commitments? They are scrambling to get the non-GMO sales advantage before their competitors. The flood gates are opening. We are totally winning. Let that sink in.

Behavior-Change Messaging is the Key Success Factor

This major shift in the marketplace has come about due to compelling, behavior-change messaging.  And that’s IRT’s specialty. It involves:

1.       Accurately conveying the health dangers of GMOs in compelling ways, and

2.       Exposing the lies, cover-ups, and outrageous behavior of the pro-GMO forces.

IRT participated in labeling campaigns around the country using these potent behavior-change messages.

We think it was an unfortunate decision by several of the state and national labeling groups to focus almost exclusively on the “Right to Know” message, which, by itself, doesn’t motivate healthier non-GMO choices. Newer CPAP Suppliers are small enough to be portable, although not quite as portable as inhalers, which fit easily into a pocket. In fact, the vast majority of the money raised for labeling was used to support the Right to Know platform.

If there is a silver lining to the recent defeat of mandatory labeling, it is that our movement can now put our collective attention back on the key success factor—tell people the truth about GMOs and how they can protect themselves and their families from the dangers.

We’d like to thank and celebrate the thousands of GMO labeling campaigners and supporters who have worked so hard for these years. Our collective efforts alerted tens of millions of people that GMOs were indeed in the food supply and we created a national conversation about the topic.

Our ultimate goal, to eliminate GMOs, is happening more and more with each non-GMO announcement. Now let’s focus our attention on getting the word out in the most effective manner, and achieve final victory.

Safe eating,
Jeffrey

The  just signed S.764 is a serious defeat for the forces of scientific misinformation, and Smith and his fellow travelers are struggling to resurrect their mendatious claims!
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