CSPI Refuses to Debate Consumers Union on Labeling of GMO Foods

Virtually every consumer and public interest group in the United States favors labeling of products that contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

With one notable exception — the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI).

CSPI is opposed to mandatory labeling of GMO foods.

Or as Gregory Jaffe, CSPI’s director of Biotechnology told a reporter last year — “we don’t feel it should be mandated on labels that foods are produced with GM crops.”

label“You could argue for example that non-GMO label claims are misleading since they falsely imply that food made without GE ingredients is safer or superior in some other way,” Jaffe said.

Earlier this month, Corporate Crime Reporter proposed a debate between one of the leading voices for mandatory GMO labeling — Michael Hansen of Consumers Union — and either Jaffe or CSPI executive Michael Jacobson.

The debate would take place at the National Press Club sometime in the spring.

Hansen quickly agreed.

But CSPI said no.

“I’m afraid we’re going to pass on your kind invitation,” wrote CSPI communications director Jeff Cronin.  “Neither Mike nor Greg has spent sufficient time working on labeling.  But thanks again for thinking of us.”

The refusal surprised Gary Ruskin, executive director of the newly formed group US Right to Know.

“Why doesn’t CSPI want to debate the issue of GMOs?” Ruskin asked “Is it because their opposition to GMO labeling is anti-consumer, unpopular and indefensible?”

“The truth is that there are nearly no consumer benefits of GMOs,” Ruskin said. “Why is CSPI defending a technology that has health and environmental risks but nearly no consumer benefits? CSPI has done a lot of good work over the years. But on the issue of GMOs, they have lost their way.”


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