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GMO Food Labeling Drive Heats Up

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Genetic Engineering Page and our Millions Against Monsanto Page.

New efforts to force labeling of foods made with genetically modified crops, including a bill introduced by US lawmakers Wednesday, have struck a nerve with biotech crop developers who say they are rushing to roll out a broad strategy to combat consumer concerns about their products.

Executives from Monsanto Co., DuPont and Dow Chemical, among the world's largest developers of biotech crops and the chemicals used to help produce them, told Reuters this week they are putting together a campaign aimed at turning the tide on what they acknowledge is a growing public sentiment against genetically modified organisms (GMOs) used as ingredients in the nation's food supply.

Last year, the industry spent $40 million to defeat a labelling measure in California. But similar initiatives are underway now in more than 20 states, and the move by the big biotech firms is designed to thwart the spread of such initiatives, which the companies say would confuse consumers and roil the food manufacturing industry.

"Even when we prevail, we lose," said Cathy Enright, executive vice president for food and agriculture for the global Biotechnology Industry Organisation (BIO,) which includes Monsanto, DuPont and Dow Chemical as members."To try to oppose this state by state, that is unsustainable," she said.

Companies' use of social media

The big biotech firms are still working out details of their plan, but it will likely have a large social media component, the company executives said. The group will focus on conveying what it says are the many benefits of biotech crops. Participants have not yet set a budget for the campaign, Enright said.

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