A False Advertising Lawsuit Against ConAgra Could Cause Major Problems for Genetically-Modified Food Companies

Earlier this year, I wrote a post about the important differences between “natural” and “organic”, and that “natural” really means nothing since it doesn’t have any strict regulations like we have with “organic”.

Making matters worse is that our government does absolutely nothing to crack down on the rampant abuse of the word “natural”.

As a result, major food companies aggressively push this marketing term onto consumers and try to coax them into thinking that “natural” means something healthy.

(Believe me, they are having tremendous success. People tell me all of the time that what they eat is “all-natural”, hoping to impress me. It doesn’t work.)

Well, this abuse might be coming to an end sometime very soon, and it is has nothing to do with the efforts of the people from the FTC, FDA or USDA.

It has everything to do with a major class-action litigation law firm, Milberg LLP, who sees the rights of consumers being violated by major corporate food companies.

THE LAWSUIT

Milberg LLP, a serious player when it comes to class action lawsuits, is suing ConAgra because it has been selling a line of Wesson Oils and advertising them as “100% Natural” on the labels.

On behalf of the plaintiffs, Milberg LLP asserts that since the Wesson Oils contain genetically-modified ingredients, the product is in fact not “100% Natural”.

According to Andrei Rado, Partner at Milberg LLP, ConAgra’s misleading claims violate California’s false advertising and unfair competition laws and business codes.

Monsanto, the biggest player in the world when it comes to genetically-modified food, defines genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) on its website as food with “genetic makeup altered to exhibit traits that are not naturally theirs.”

ConAgra will say that since they are taking genes from one “natural” organism and inserting them into another “natural” organism, that the end-product is still “natural”.

The jury will ultimately rule whether a reasonable consumer believes that a genetically-modified food product is natural or not.

MY TAKE

This is a very, very positive piece of news for consumers. Why?

First and foremost, it will bring a lot of attention to GMOs, something that the industrial food producers will be very unhappy about.

Even though genetically-modified food comprises roughly 70-80% of supermarket shelves, my sense is that an incredibly high percentage of the U.S. population has no idea what genetically-modified food is.

This lawsuit, which hopefully will garner a lot of media attention, should raise awareness of GMOs in a major way.

If consumers start becoming aware of GMOs and understand the potential health risks of consuming them, they will be more inclined to switch to organic food, which prohibits GMOs.

Furthermore, if this case holds, other corporate food companies that have been advertising their genetically-modified products as “100% natural”, or “natural”, may be open to lawsuits as well.

This all could result in a big financial payout to plaintiffs, a big financial hit to the industrial food system and a severe drop in demand for genetically-modified food.

Europe, Japan, and Australia understand the risks of GMOs and require the mandatory labeling of GM-food.

The U.S. government is so beholden to biotech and corporate agriculture that it not only does not require the labeling of GMOs but it subsidizes GMOs.

This lawsuit is fantastic news for all consumers.

Thank you Milberg for doing the work that our government refuses to do.

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If you want more information or have bought any Wesson Oils and may be interested in joining the class action lawsuit, please contact Milberg LLP HERE.


8 Comments

  • There is a huge effort underway to produce better nutrition through GM-food. It’s called golden rice:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_rice

    It is proven to prevent blindness in people who eat a rice-based diet, but anti-GM activists have thus far succeeded in keeping it from being used to feed people in the Third World. Fortunately, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is now involved and golden rice will hopefully be brought to market very soon.

    • Max Goldberg says:

      Hi Mischa,

      If you want to be a GMO apologist, that is your right. But you are so far off base it is scary – GMOs will not solve the world’s problems but will only contribute to them.

      Why did the poorest country in the world, Haiti, burn thousands of pounds of GM-seeds donated to them? Because they know the truth. GM-seeds have delivered nothing but failed promised, hundreds of millions of pounds of chemicals into our water supply, 250,000 suicides of farmers in India, and organ failure to animals in lab studies.

      You obviously care more about corporate profits than helping to feed and nourish the people of Africa.

      Live well,
      Max

  • stephanie haughey says:

    Hello Max

    I am including link to a rebroadcast with writer Dan Koeppel on NPR Fresh Air
    that is worthy to be read. I did not realize my/our local banana is a hybrid fruit
    with a deeply painful agricultural history beginning with Thomas Jefferson. The banana originated in Africa and in a small region in Jamaica and not in Central America. I plan to read Dan’s book ‘Banana’.
    There is a audo version of the interview as well.

    All the best,
    stephanie

    http://www.npr.org/templates/transcript/transcript.php?storyId=139787380

    • Max Goldberg says:

      Hi Stephanie,

      Thanks so much for the link. I will go listen to the audiocast very soon.

      I knew they were a hybrid but a hybrid is very, very different from a GM-crop. I am excited to learn more.

      Live well,
      Max

  • stephanie haughey says:

    Thank you, Max for the link to Milberg LLP and update.

    Cheers,
    stephanie

  • Luis Arias says:

    Thanks Max for keeping us updated on this major industry trend.
    I’m particularly very interested in knowing a precise health problem GMO has caused to have a better understanding of the “potential health risk” at hand. It’s my understanding any kind of food has a “potential health risk” and that’s exactly what the biotech and GMO industry are trying to solve, but probably causing some others of their own—And that specific outcome is what I need to learn in detail.
    All my best,

    Luis

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