April 23 2018 01:20 PM

Fear mongering in food marketing is getting attention.

A typical stroll down the grocery store aisle exposes the shopper to almost 40,000 different products. While most have labels to aid in the shopping process, it can still be hard to separate truth from marketing on food items.

“Peel Back the Label” is a new campaign from America’s dairy farmers that identifies companies that use misleading food labeling or deceptive marketing to instigate fear in consumers in an attempt to increase sales.

The recent companies identified are Stonyfield, Danone-owned Left Field Farms, and California-based Clover Sonoma. Their claims center around genetically modified (GM) labeling. They have included “non-GMO” labels on milk to purposely confuse consumers, even though the science clearly shows that there is no difference in milk produced by cows fed GM or non-GM feed rations.

Stonyfield: Earlier this year, the company released an online video with young children talking about their fears of GMOs. Critics rightly lambasted the falsehoods and were disapproving of the use of children to sell product.

Left Field Farms: On their website, Left Field Farms asks consumers, “If you won’t eat GMOs, why should cows?” Again, a company is attempting to draw attention to modern-food production practices as a method to sway consumers to their products. Another of Danone’s brands, Dannon, has already been identified by Peel Back the Label for its questionable sourcing decisions.

Clover Sonoma: The company’s website states, there is “uncertainty around the unknown long-term effects of genetically engineered crops.” However, there is broad scientific consensus confirming genetically modified crops’ food safety.

“America’s dairy farmers support truth and transparency in food labeling across the food industry, as well as in our own backyard. When companies use meaningless absence-claims labels and deceptive marketing, that’s just wrong,” said Jim Mulhern, President of the National Milk Producers Federation. “Peel Back the Label will continue to call out bad actors – even in the dairy community – as we see them in an effort to demand responsible marketing for consumers. They deserve better.”

Peel Back the Label has a website, Facebook page, as well as being active on Twitter. Through their website, consumers learn to differentiate the truth from the alternative and share deceptive labeling experiences they’ve had. The goal is to make others aware of these practices and to further encourage food manufacturers to stop.

These three new companies join Peel Back the Label’s bad actors list which continue to put profits above consumers through their deceptive, fear-mongering marketing: Hunts, Florida’s Natural, Dannon, Himalania Rock Salt, TruMoo, Del Monte Canned Sliced Carrots, Cuties Mandarin Oranges, Bibb Lettuce from Living Fresh, Tyson, and Perdue.

Peel Back the Label is comprised of America’s dairy farmers and their families. Learn more about the campaign at www.PeelBackTheLabel.org.

Patti Hurtgen

The author is the online media manager and is responsible for the website, webinars, and social media. A graduate of Modesto Junior College and Fresno State, she was raised on a California dairy and frequently blogs on youth programs and consumer issues.