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We live in an age of inequality and social divide. With 1% of the population in the United States holding 38% of the wealth and almost all of the power. Education, healthcare, the government, and even the food we eat and drink are owned by wealthy individuals and faceless corporations.
So it may not come as a surprise to you that a morning coffee from Starbucks is the last thing that you should be drinking to put a pep in your step. It has been discovered that the coffee conglomerate has spent nearly $100 million to cover up their use of GMOs in their drinks.
Starbucks and GMO foods
‘In the past two years alone, Starbucks has been a part of a GMA-led coalition that has donated more than $70 million dollars to defeat GMO labeling efforts in California and Washington State,’ said a spokesperson for Food Democracy Now. ‘By opposing GMO labeling, Starbucks has willingly climbed in bed with Monsanto and the GMA and is intentionally misleading customers about their commitment to sustainability and ethical sourcing.’
It’s a damning statement and is certainly warranted. Not only have Starbucks been putting on a facade as an ethical organization, but they have proactively sought to increase the usage of GMO foods. Considering that they have over 23,000 stores in 64 different countries, Starbucks has a huge influence on farmers.
Starbucks’ milk currently comes from factory farmed cows, usually owned by their partner Monsanto. These cows are kept in terrible conditions, pumped with unnatural antibiotics and fed GMO grains. According to the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) in 2011, Starbucks used over, ‘93 million gallons of milk per year, enough to fill 155 Olympic-sized swimming pools.’
Considering their continued growth over the past five years it is likely that the figure today would be even higher. Their continued desire to quash legislation that calls for the labeling of GMO foods equates to an awful lot of people consuming them without their prior knowledge.
Starbucks and GMA
As Food Democracy Now stated, Starbucks is part of a collection of 300 of the world’s largest food companies called Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA). GMA’s role is to lobby governments in order to prevent ethical legislation being passed that might cut into their member’s profit margin.
For a company like Starbucks GMA is the perfect cover up. On the surface, they can still appear to support sustainable produce, whilst pumping ludicrous sums of money into protecting their bottom line.
Most recently the group has been attempting to prevent GMO foods being labeled as GMO to consumers in California and Washington. Two years ago they failed to prevent Vermont passing the first measure of this kind, which came into law in July of this year. Act 120 now ensures that all GMO products or ingredients must be clearly labeled, in order for the consumer to make their own decision to use the product. Since the bill passed, early indications suggest that GMO foods sales have decreased significantly.
Although Vermont is a much-needed success story, Monsanto, Starbucks and the GMA have, thus far, successfully prevented the passing of similar acts in 30 other states, at an expense far exceeding $100 million. Big business and big cheques are undermining the very fabric of democracy.
No matter how small each of us feels in the face of such an abhorrent misuse of power, we can all make a real difference. Turn your back on businesses like Starbucks who have been shown not to care about the rest of us. The rights of the 99% are the only reason we should need.