Large food manufacturers, faced with declining sales, are increasingly using deceptive absence claim food labels to distinguish themselves in a highly competitive space. Their goal: gain market share by playing on consumers’ lack of knowledge, misconceptions or outright fears regarding the safety of their food.

Nowhere is this type of fear mongering more prevalent than with GMOs. Biotechnology enables farmers to grow more food, more safely, and more sustainably than in the past. 20 years of research and evidence attesting to the safety of the use of GMO technology has made that clear. But the use of bioengineering has become a convenient target for clever marketers.

Sometimes it’s a company that changes its processes or sourcing to avoid GM ingredients – even though there is no nutritional, health, environmental or other benefit from the change.

Or it might be a company whose product never contained GMOs in the first place that decides to take cynical advantage of consumer fears and drop a prominent “non-GMO” label on its product anyway.

It’s time to speak out and challenge these misleading marketing claims. Here are a few of the most disappointing examples of food label fear mongering in the marketplace today. As we collect more – GMO or otherwise – we’ll keep updating this list.

If you come across a case of food label fear mongering, take a photo and share it on Twitter using #PeelBackTheLabel!

Wild Planet Tuna

On their website, Wild Planet lists only TWO ingredients for their canned tuna:   Albacore tuna (Thunnus alalunga) and sea salt Simple, right? Yeah, not so much. Along with those ingredients, Wild Planet also proudly features...

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Tropicana Orange Juice

There are currently no GMO oranges available on the market. So why does Tropicana insist on using a Non-GMO Project verified label on its original orange juice products that have literally one ingredient – oranges? Tropicana’s sales declined nearly...

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McCormick’s “Gourmet” Spices

There are no GMO spices currently on the market, but that didn’t stop McCormick from proudly releasing its GMO-free “Gourmet” line of products, ranging from cinnamon to thyme, in 2015. At the time, the line of 172...

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Barilla Pasta

Commercialized GMO wheat is nowhere to be found in supermarkets. But, that hasn’t stopped Barilla from deceptively labeling its pasta with the Non-GMO project logo. Barilla is facing a highly competitive food market. Consumers are switching to...

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Clover Sonoma Milk

On its website, Clover Sonoma Farms credits its decision to go non-GMO – and to utilize the Non-GMO Project verified label – as an effort to drive industry progress and build “trust with consumers.” In particular,...

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Left Field Farms Milk

Sometimes fear-mongering as a marketing tactic is subtle; a veiled attempt at making you question what you otherwise thought to be true. Other times it’s a blatant, in your face, laugh out loud manipulation. The marketing...

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Stonyfield Yogurt

The science is clear: ALL milk is naturally GMO free, regardless of the type of feed – GM or non-GM – that the cows producing it have consumed. Anyone – or any company – that implies...

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Hunt’s Tomatoes

For many consumers who comparison shop for their groceries, a food label announcing the lack of some ingredient or process in its product infers a real difference between that product and its competitors. It’s easy to...

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