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!

Gotham Greens Arugula

Have you ever eaten genetically modified arugula? We’re positive you haven’t — because it doesn’t exist! But that hasn’t stopped Gotham Greens, which calls itself a “hyper-local” company, from putting “non-GMO seed” on its containers of...

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Don Pablo Coffee

Coffee consumers, caution! Don’t fall for the froth of Don Pablo’s Signature Blend. Its tagline – 100% Arabica Coffee, Non-GMO – is 100% misleading: there are no GM coffees on the market. So why would a coffee brand imply...

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Catelli Pasta

You’d be hard-pressed to find GM wheat in your local supermarket. Why? Because it simply does not exist! So why has Catelli Pasta chosen to follow the lead of their competitor, Barilla, by labeling their products...

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Smithfield Bacon

Smithfield is laying the deception on thick by slapping a gluten-free label on its thick-cut bacon. This product’s only ingredient is pork cured in water, sugar and various kinds of salt. Not a single one of...

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Bright Farms Spinach

Popeye used to gain tremendous strength from eating spinach. If only spinach grower Bright Farms would show such strength in their labeling practices. Instead of standing for honesty in marketing, Bright Farms chose to deceive its...

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Diamond Walnuts

Diamond has gone NUTS! In 2015, Diamond of California received Non-GMO Project Verification for its full line of walnut products. There’s just one concern. There isn’t a single GM nut crop available on the market today. This...

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Fresh Thyme Beans

Beans, beans, they’re good for your heart. The more you eat the more you…depart from reality? This is the sad truth if you shop at Fresh Thyme, where they deceptively label their store-brand beans as being...

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Near East Couscous

Near East apparently can’t help itself from misleading consumers, placing a Non-GMO Project label on its original couscous. This product’s only ingredient? Durum wheat semolina. There is no GM durum wheat semolina on the market. So...

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