Starbucks says it was wrongly accused of fighting labeling law
Starbucks Corp. says it has been wrongly accused in online petitions of supporting a Grocery Manufacturers Association lawsuit to block Vermont's genetically modified organism (GMO) labeling law. Petitions posted to websites such as www.Sumofus.o...
Starbucks Corp. says it has been wrongly accused in online petitions of
supporting a Grocery Manufacturers Association lawsuit to block Vermont's genetically modified organism (GMO) labeling law.
Petitions posted to websites such as www.Sumofus.org and www.Care2.com accused Starbucks of teaming with fellow GMA member Monsanto Co. to kill GMO labeling in Vermont, which in May became the first U.S. state to pass a mandatory GMO labeling law that did not require another state to go first.
"Starbucks is not part of any litigation pertaining to GMO labeling... We don't support the lawsuit," Starbucks says in a statement.
"Neither Starbucks nor Monsanto is participating in our lawsuit to overturn Vermont's GMO labeling law," GMA spokesman Brian Kennedy says.
Internal GMA documents filed last year as part of a lawsuit in Washington State revealed members contribute to a "Defense of Brands Strategic Account" designed "to help the industry fund programs to address the threats from motivated and well-financed activists" and to "shield individual companies from criticism for funding of specific efforts."
Kennedy did not respond to questions related to that account.
Petition backers on Nov. 17 were more than halfway to their goal of collecting some 500,000 online signatures. Supporters include singer-songwriter Neil Young, who vowed on his website to boycott Starbucks over the GMO issue.
The petitions also call on Starbucks to cut ties with GMA and to switch to GMO-free organic milk.
Starbucks says its continued membership in the GMA gives it a voice in industry debates. The chain also says limited supplies prevent it from changing to organic milk.
The GMA, along with members such as Monsanto, PepsiCo Inc. and Kellogg Co., has spent millions of dollars to defeat GMO-labeling ballot measures in Oregon, Colorado, Washington and California.
While proponents and critics debate the safety, environmental impacts and effectiveness of genetically engineered crops, some major companies are shunning GMOs.
Popular burrito seller Chipotle Mexican Grill has cut virtually all GMOs from its food supply. Fast-food giant McDonald's Corp. says it will not use newly approved GMO potatoes from long-time supplier J.R. Simplot to make its famous fries or other food.