A Veggie’s Tale

Herd About It?
by Ana Grarian

Robert Kenner’s Oscar nominated film Food Inc., delved into how industrial food is hurting our health. At a hearing on labeling standards for cloned meats (did you know there were cloned meats?) he heard an industry representative say, it would not be in the consumer’s interest to have that information because it would be too confusing.

I’m confused. I’m confused that (A) somebody thought I would want to eat cloned meat, and (B) my government went along with them!

There is a term called “veggie libel”. The real term is “agricultural disparagement law” which says that anyone who makes a false statement about a perishable food or farm product must pay damages to those hurt financially by that statement. That sounds fair. I shouldn’t be able to go to a farmer’s market and claim falsely that Farmer Jane’s beets were sprayed with paint thinner. But these laws are being used in radical ways in something called SLAPP suits ( Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation). Here are some examples from The Global Citizen:

Monsanto, sued several small dairies for advertising that their milk is BGH-free.
McDonalds sued two activists for claiming that Big Macs are unhealthy and harmful to the environment.
Big beef suing Oprah over a show about Mad Cow disease.

Most of these cases are dismissed and found for the defendant. The point of the law is to put the fear of being sued, into journalists and activists and citizen groups so that they won’t express legitimate concerns over food sources and products.Food products, through the corporations that concoct them have more power than the consumers. Where have we heard those concerns recently?

What I want to know is,”If your product is so good, why are you afraid to let me know what it is”?