When singer/songwriter Neil Young wrote that he was boycotting Starbucks—a member of the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA)—because the GMA is suing to overturn Vermont’s GMO labeling law, Starbucks fired back on its website claiming that a “petition claiming that Starbucks is part of this [lawsuit against Vermont] litigation is completely false and we have asked the petitioners to correct their description of our position.”
But Starbucks’ denial wasn’t enough to convince consumers. So the GMA rushed to the rescue with this statement: “Neither Starbucks nor Monsanto is participating in our lawsuit to overturn Vermont’s GMO labeling law.”
Nice try. Fact is, corporations join lobbying groups like the GMA so they can maintain a consumer-friendly image while the lobbying group does the dirty work for them. Case in point: When Washington State sued the GMA for money laundering, the GMA defended its creation of the “Defense of Brand Strategic Account” to “better shield individual companies from attack,” by claiming that the lobbying group speaks “with one voice” for its members.
And a statement by GMA President and CEO Pamela Bailey, on the GMA website, says: “From rapidly changing consumer preferences to the public policy arena, the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) is uniquely positioned to bring the industry together, as one voice, to lead and to address those issues that no one company can solve alone.”
Issues like keeping labels off all of the GMO-tainted foods sold in Starbucks.
If Starbucks wants consumers to believe that the company is not, at least indirectly, party to the GMA’s lawsuit against Vermont, Starbucks needs to quit the GMA immediately. End of story.