NMPF Launches New Consumer Campaign to Call Out Misleading Food Labels

NMPF launched a new consumer-focused campaign last week to highlight the need for truth and transparency in food marketing. Billed as “Peel Back the Label,” the campaign calls out food manufacturers that increasingly utilize absence claims like “GMO free” to play on consumers' food safety fears and misconceptions.

This effort comes as almost 70 percent of consumers say they look to front-of-label claims when making food purchasing decisions, and as food manufacturers increasingly turn to fear-based food labeling to hold or gain market share, presenting consumers with more confusion in the grocery aisles.

“America’s dairy farmers strongly support open, honest and transparent engagement with consumers. The deceptive labels and fear-based marketing increasingly used by some food manufacturers damages consumer trust and jeopardizes the safe, sustainable farming practices that have enhanced farm productivity over the last 20 years,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. “Consumers have a right to both truth and transparency in food labeling. We launched this campaign to help consumers peel back the label on deceptive food marketing in the name of profits.”

This trend toward deceptive labeling practices is particularly concerning for the dairy industry. Last year, NMPF and other leading farm organizations publicly raised concerns regarding Dannon’s announcement of its plans to eliminate GMOs from its products, saying the company’s decision was “the exact opposite of the sustainable agriculture that you claim to be seeking.”

Other recent examples of deceptive or confusing marketing surrounding GMOs include:

  • Hunt’s adding a “GMO-free” label to its canned tomatoes, even though there is no such thing as a genetically modified tomato currently on the market.
  • Florida’s Natural adding a Non-GMO Project certification to its orange juice labels, despite the fact there are no commercially grown, genetically modified oranges.
  • TruMoo milk acknowledges GMOs are safe on its website, while at the same time launching an advertising campaign for its milk with the tagline, “No GMOs, No Worries.”

Through the Peel Back the Label website, the campaign will give consumers access to the tools they need to separate hype from fact as they work to make informed food decisions for their families. It also will include ways for consumers to tell their own stories about the negative impacts of deceptive labeling, and share information with their social networks. NMPF will continue to highlight the problems caused by fear-based marketing as it also raises the issue with the news media, opinion leaders and the public.