As certain world events have taken center stage over the past few years, the question of genetically engineered foods and whether consumers will ever receive clear, plain text labels has remained in the background for quite some time.
Now, the issue is coming to the forefront yet again, as it has been revealed that a group of major grocery store brands has been hit with a record fine stemming from 2013 violations.
It all centered around a Big Food, Pro-GMO and chemical agriculture lobbying group working feverishly to prevent GMO labeling the way consumers originally demanded, and now it has ended with a result fit for the Guinness Book of World Records.
Grocery Manufacturers Associated Ordered to Pay $18 Million in Money Laundering Scheme
In what has been described as “the mother of all grocery bills,” The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) has been ordered to pay an $18 million fine for 2013 disclosure violations, the Washington state Supreme Court ruled.
The ruling upholds their original fine, which was levied after the GMA violated state campaign finance laws during a fight against a GMO food labeling drive, according to an article by The Cascadia Advocate.
The GMA has since rebranded itself as the Consumer Brands Association.
Among the companies funneling money into an anti-GMO labeling fund were Kellogg’s, Coca Cola, Nestle, and Monsanto.
Altogether, they amassed $22 million to defeat GMO labeling initiative 522. Their scheme was ruled illegal according to Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, who worked the case for seven years according to the article before he was finally able to crack the case.
“Because of GMA’s intentional actions, Washington voters were deprived of knowing the multiple companies who were spending millions of dollars to defeat Initiative 522 and the identity of those companies,” Ferguson said din an interview.
“They were caught red-handed. It’s the kind of thing that drives people crazy: big sophisticated corporations who think they don’t have to follow the pesky law,” he said. Ferguson added that the well-funded industry group had engaged in ‘scorched earth litigation’ fighting the case with ‘every conceivable legal roadblock.’”
He added that the ruling is a “complete and total victory” for the state of Washington.