While it is generally accepted that sugary drinks and highly processed foods are not particularly healthy, there is growing recognition that a hidden danger in these products adds to their nefariousness – genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
Coca-Cola and PepsiCo have made it clear that they would like to keep these dangers hidden from those who purchase their products. These corporations, two of the most well-known and successful food and beverage providers in the world, are doing their best to deny consumers in America the right to know what is in the food they eat. In November of 2012, the two corporations spent more than $4.1 million combined to oppose GMO labeling, with PepsiCo spending $2,485,400 and Coca-Cola spending $1,700,5001.
Adding to this injustice is the fact that both companies provide non-GMO versions of their products in Europe, where the labeling of genetically modified ingredients is required. (See Coke’s UK product page.)
The main ingredients in Coke and Pepsi beverages are often corn syrup, sugar, or both. Both of these sweeteners are derived from the most extensively genetically engineered crops: corn and sugar beets. In the United States, 95% of the sugar beet crop and more than 85% of the corn crop is now genetically modified, according to the Non-GMO Project. Even soda consumers that choose diet options in an attempt to avoid corn syrup or sugar are unable to avoid GMOs. This is because aspartame, the most common artificial sweetener, is made from genetically modified bacteria.
Looking beyond soda, these companies own a long list of juice brands you may have thought were a better option than their sodas. The Coca-Cola Company owns Simply Orange, Fruitopia, Minute Maid, Hi-C, and Odwalla and PepsiCo owns Tropicana, Lipton, Gatorade, and Naked Juice. Some of these soda alternatives also contain high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors, sugar, and aspartame – and therefore are just as likely to contain genetically modified ingredients.
Coke and Pepsi do not limit themselves or their use of GMOs to just beverages either. Pepsi owns Frito-Lay and a host of brands and products you might recognize but not realize are connected to Pepsi: Aunt Jemima, Life Cereal, Hostess, Tostitos, and many others. Some products from Frito-Lay even go so far to be labeled "natural" despite containing genetically modified corn and vegetable oils, including corn, soybean, and canola.
GMOs have never been proven safe for consumption, and a growing body of studies is raising concerns around the health effects of eating them. GMOs are also increasing the use of toxic herbicides and causing harm to farmers in the US and abroad.
If GMOs have never been proven safe, why should Pepsi and Coke be allowed to put items containing them onto market without labels? Also, if it’s so simple to make products without GMOs in Europe, why can’t Coca-Cola and PepsiCo do it here?
Please join GMO Inside and tell Coca-Cola and PepsiCo it is time to do what is right and get genetically modified ingredients out of their products!