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Non-GE labels misleading, says CSPI

The Center for Science in the Public Interest has called on FDA to take action against seven food manufacturers for making false and misleading label claims related to the absence of genetically engineered ingredients.

Targeted companies and products include Polaner’s All Fruit Spreads, Earth’s Best Baby Foods, Healthy Times Oatmeal with Banana Cereal, Van’s Organic Waffles, Spectrum Canola Oil, Bearitos Tortilla Chips, and Erewhon Wheat Flakes. Label claims of being free of GE ingredients were disingenuous at best. For example, the Erewhon Wheat Flakes claims it is “100% Natural” and does not contain “Genetically Engineered Ingredients.” In fact, no GE wheat is present in any food. Although CSPI favors labeling of GE ingredients, these labels show manufacturers are taking advantage of consumers’ concerns and lack of knowledge about GE crops, the group said. They imply the absence of GE ingredients makes the product superior when that is not the case. A recent CSPI national opinion poll found that label statements indicating GE or non-GE significantly affected consumers’ perceptions and preferences. Some 31% of consumers thought products labeled GE were not as safe as non-GE foods.

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