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What Exactly Is the Center for Consumer Freedom?

What Exactly Is the Center for Consumer Freedom?
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center for consumer freedomAnd who exactly is being “bought and paid for”?

The Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF), a misleadingly named organization run by a lobbyist for Big Food, recently wrote an article undermining the harm of GMOs and downplaying the need for GMO labeling. It said that “organic food promoters like the Non-GMO Project and the Organic Consumers Association are warning shoppers about nonexistent risks to get consumers to pay more for organic”—essentially stating that there’s a vast organic conspiracy afoot, with “ideological activists…trying their hardest this holiday season to add to the stress and worry from the grocery store to the table.”

The big website Daily Caller ran the article with a headline suggesting that supporters of GMO labeling—like ANH-USA—are “bought and paid for” by organic food producers. As you know, ANH-USA is a grassroots consumer organization and has not been “bought and paid for” by anyone, certainly not by organic food producers. Can CCF say the same? As you’ll see below, they may ironically be leveling a charge at others that should instead be leveled at themselves.

A website established by PETA states that “CCF was set up…with a $600,000 ‘donation’ from tobacco company Philip Morris.” The big tobacco company presumably wanted a “consumer” organization as part of its public relations campaign against critics of smoking.  The PETA website raises many other interesting questions about the corporate funding and practices of CCF and its founder.

SourceWatch adds that CCF’s contributors have included Coca-Cola, Cargill, Monsanto, Tyson Foods, Outback Steakhouse, Wendy’s, Brinker International, and Dean Foods. In 1999 (the most recent year the info was available), CCF’s advisory board was comprised largely of representatives from the restaurant, meat, and alcoholic beverage industries. In 2011, CCF received $1,391,700 (almost their entire revenue) in gifts and grants.

The CCF article goes on to recast GMOs as being “crops improved with biotechnology,” calling them “perfectly safe” and repeating the old myths about how GMOs lower costs, help the economy, have no environmental or health effects, and will help feed the world—myths we have thoroughly debunked time and again.

This so-called “consumer group” seems to take a consistently Big Food and Big Biotech industry stance—for example, they claim that the recent study showing rats to have a similar neurological reaction when eating Oreos as they do when given cocaine or morphine “over-hypes” the idea of food addiction. Likewise, they state that many who warn of too much mercury in food or the potential for salmonella contamination in CAFO poultry cage systems are just “dietary scolds” with “wide-ranging agendas.”

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