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Are Your Favorite Organic Brands Trying to Deceive You?


Which organic brands really believe in organic — and which are working behind the scenes to betray natural health consumers? It’s time for a boycott. Action Alert!

Many natural and organic brands are actually owned by huge conglomerates that don’t support sustainable, organic, non-GMO, non-toxic agriculture. In fact, their product labels are often designed to mislead consumers just so they can grab a share of the lucrative health-conscious consumer market.

Even worse, many of the conglomerate companies that produce so-called natural foods — and even some labeled “organic” — are allied with the biotech industry fighting by any means to defeat “Label GMO,” a.k.a. Prop 37, the California Right to Know 2012 Ballot Initiative. Why are they doing such a thing? Because they sell more food that has GMO ingredients than organic food, and don’t want consumers to have a choice about the GMO. They especially don’t want consumers to know what is actually in their so-called “natural” products.

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Keep in mind that the term “natural” has no legal or regulatory meaning at all: FDA has never created a definition for it and claims that “it is difficult to define a food product that is ‘natural’ because the food has probably been processed and is no longer the product of the earth.” In fact, FDA even says high-fructose corn syrup is natural! “Natural” is nothing more than a marketing term, one that is in fact meaningless.

You’d think a “natural” food wouldn’t have genetically engineered ingredients, but you’d be wrong. Kashi, which everywhere proclaims its passion for “healthy, all-natural foods,” has GMO soy in its ingredients. Kashi is owned by Kellogg, the multinational food manufacturing company that produces everything from sugary cereals to Morningstar Farms vegetarian products (some of which are organic but still use GMOs) to Keebler cookies (filled with GMOs). The company has contributed $612,000 to defeat Prop 37 and keep GMO labels off their products.

Sierra Mist Natural wears that moniker proudly because their soda is “made with real sugar and 100% natural flavors”! The brand is owned by PepsiCo, which has contributed more than $1 million to defeat Prop 37.

What you may not realize is that many organic brands have been snapped up by Big Food companies; their ownership is deliberately hidden from consumers. While they purport to have an environmental and health-conscious mission, they completely undercut that claim by fighting GMO labeling. Honest Tea, for example, is USDA-certified organic. Yet Honest Tea is owned by Coca-Cola, which has also contributed more than $1 million to defeat Label GMO. We don’t think that’s very honest. Coke also owns Odwalla, which produces “all-natural juices” and “nourishing protein bars,” and supposedly supports sustainable agriculture. GMO is sustainable agriculture?

Silk carries the “Non-GMO Project Verified” seal on its soy milk, coconut milk, and almond milk products. Both Silk and the Horizon Organic brand tell their customers that the brands oppose GMOs. Yet both are owned by Dean Foods, which has contributed $253,000 to defeat Label GMO.

Lightlife vegan and vegetarian foods is owned by ConAgra, which contributed $520,000. Seeds of Change, the organic seed and food company, is owned by candy giant Mars, which contributed $100,242 to defeat Label GMO. General Mills, which owns Cascadian Farms Organic, Muir Glen, and Larabar, contributed $520,000. Smucker, which owns R.W. Knudsen and Santa Cruz Organic, contributed $387,000. The State of California has a website where you can see exactly which companies are fighting hardest to keep their GMO foods from being labeled.

What about groups like the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association), and the Organic Trade Association? Surely they’re all about protecting consumers from GMOs, right? No. Both of these organizations are funded by the very same Big Food companies that have made contributions to defeat the Label GMO initiative.

Back in 1994, Norman Braksick, president of Asgrow Seed Co., a subsidiary of Monsanto, told the Kansas City Star, “If you put a label on genetically engineered food, you might as well put a skull and crossbones on it.” And that’s precisely what Big Food is so afraid of. Consumers will generally avoid GMOs if they can, and they won’t buy foods containing them. Can you imagine the consumer outrage if the labels on their favorite “natural” foods suddenly declare that their ingredients are genetically engineered?

The Cornucopia Institute has developed a shoppers’ guide to help you tell the sheep from the wolves in this battle.

In 2008, the global organic industry generated $52 billion. Organic foods account for 2.6% of the US food market, and it’s growing at a rate of nearly 20% each year. Money talks. Tell the parent companies of these brands of “natural” and organic foods — companies that oppose your right to know what’s in your food — that if they want your business, they can’t sell out organic values. We join with other friends in calling for a global boycott. We would suggest boycotting the following brands:

  • Alexia Foods
  • Bear Naked
  • Cascadian Farm Organics
  • French Meadow Organic Bakery
  • Gardenburger
  • Honest Tea
  • Horizon Organic
  • Izze Sparkling Juice
  • Kashi
  • Larabar
  • Lightlife
  • MorningStar Farms
  • Muir Glen Organics
  • Naked Juice
  • Odwalla
  • R.W. Knudsen
  • Santa Cruz Organic
  • Sierra Mist Natural
  • Silk

Instead, buy the following brands that have donated in support of Label GMO:

  • Amy’s
  • Baby’s Only Organic
  • Dr. Bronner’s
  • Eden
  • Lundberg
  • Nature’s Path Organic
  • Nutiva
  • Organic Valley
  • Straus Organic
  • Uncle Matt’s

Right now, please sign our warning message to the “natural food” companies trying to stop you from knowing what products contain GMO.

Take Action!

And also sign our letter of thanks to those companies which are supporting the initiative.

Take Action!

This article is republished with permission from the Alliance for Natural Health USA, August 21, 2012. Go straight to the source.

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Leave a Comment Below

4 responses to “Are Your Favorite Organic Brands Trying to Deceive You?”

  1. Frances Peacock says:

    Great information – I will no longr purchase Horizon Milk; fortunately, that is the only company that is a guilty one on my list. I am a consumer of organic foods only, so it is important for me that I have access to this information. Thanks!

  2. Tony says:

    Great get rid of all the organic companies and then eat what? Why not boycott the parent companies products that are not organic? I want to more to encourage companies to do more organic not less.

    • nate rey says:

      Overall, I’m with Tony on this one.

      I, too, appreciate the info. This invasion of the organic space by large multinationals presents real dangers to the NOSB. Unholy alliances with big agribusiness are reflexive. If we see any efforts to remove the proscription against GMO within the organic label we must raise hell and put blocks under it.

      That said, there’s a broader issue here, and that’s processed food (PF), itself. In buying PF, we’re, in effect, asking profit-seeking corporations to cook for us. I am a lion of free enterprise, but the corporate model just isn’t a good fit to feeding families at the elite level. In quantity, yes, and mechanization and economy of scale has undeniably raised the minimum baseline of human nutrition, globally.

      But, to raise your family’s nutrition to the elite level, you’ve got to do the job yourself. Cook! And not too much!

      ALL of the co’s listed in this ANH article, picks and pans alike, must be governed by the bottom line, or they aren’t there, next fiscal year.

      And PF, ANY PF, is a suboptimal food choice. Period. Viewed thru that lens, there is a continuous, slippery slope of quality degradation throughout the genre. And the issues bearing on that degradation are complex, elaborating, and mutating. Transfat in the eighties. Sodium after that. Now carrageenan and GMO.

      To demonize the co’s to whom one has abdicated responsibility seems to me to be petulant.

      It really is the brand that counts. Parent co’s tend to grant the managements of their brands a degree of of autonomy, and the DO manifest it. One example that springs to mind is Silk, whose board has made very thoughtful pronouncements, and actions, on the issue of carrageenan.

      So, by all means, keep an eye on the NOSB. Buy PF in strict moderation and with a scrupulous eye to relative degrees of nutritional degradation.

      And reward the brands who, in your best estimation, are doing the best job.

  3. Free! says:

    Nice Job on keeping the Nazi gmo foods posted, and informing everyone!