When consumers peruse the aisles of their favorite grocery stores, they will see a variety of labels plastered onto food products – anything from 100% Organic to Non-GMO to Non-RBST. Despite the somewhat ambiguous meaning behind these labels, this wording can assist consumers with understanding the quality of their potential purchases. However, these labels also affect consumer buying patterns, and this is an influence known by food companies and advertisers alike. The latest of lawsuits regarding food labels and misleading advertisements comes from Debbie Banafsheha, a California woman who is claiming that Heinz “All-Natural” Distilled White Vinegar “can’t be considered natural at all, because it’s made with GMO corn” (Renter, Natural Society, 2014).
Proposition 37, which sought to require Big Food companies to properly label genetically-modified foods (GMO’s), recently failed among California voters. GMO’s are formulated through genetic engineering and often require exposure to radiation or chemicals to serve as a catalyst in the transformation. GMO leaders, most notably Missouri-based Monsanto, allotted over $45 million towards a “No on 37” campaign to fight the proposition’s approval. The movement also received contributions from Coca-Cola, Nestle, and Kraft and took part in misrepresentation of the act that boasts “Stop the deceptive food labeling scheme.” The Big Food propaganda was ultimately a success, as it is believed that many whom voted against Prop 37 were swayed by the aggressive campaign.