Starbucks addresses involvement in GMO labeling lawsuit
NEW YORK — Starbucks says that Neil Young’s boycott is wrong.
Last week, the singer said on his website, that he was kicking his daily Starbucks latte habit because he claimed the coffee company had teamed up with Monsanto to sue Vermont for a new law on genetically engineered foods. Young called out to his fans to join a petition by the organization SumOfUs.
Now both companies are denying that they are part of the lawsuit.
Starbucks flatly denied, via Twitter, that the company has anything to do with the lawsuit. Vermont’s new labeling law requires that companies identify whether its food products contain genetically modified organisms.
“Starbucks is not a part of any lawsuit pertaining to GMO labeling nor have we provided funding for any campaign,” said Starbucks. “And Starbucks is not aligned with Monsanto to stop food labeling or block Vermont State law. The petition claiming that Starbucks is part of this litigation is completely false and we have asked the petitioners to correct their description of our position.”
Monsanto spokeswoman Charla Marie Lord also said, “We are not in the lawsuit at all.”
Both companies aren’t named in the lawsuit, but they are both members of the Grocery Manufacturers Association, a lobbying group that filed the suit.
The group’s spokesman Brian Kennedy confirmed that Starbucks is an “affiliate member” without any involvement in the group’s lawsuit.
“As an affiliate member, it is not involved in any policy, governance, or legal work with the Association, which includes the lawsuit in Vermont,” said Kennedy.
Vermont’s new law will require that all food produced with genetic engineering be labeled by July 2016. in May, it became the first state to pass such a law.
The purpose of the GMA’s lawsuit, which was filed in federal district court in Burlington in June, is to get the law tossed out as “invalid and unenforceable.”
Young called the battle between the Green Mountain State and the large food and coffee companies “a classic David and Goliath fight.”
“I used to line up and get my latte every day, but yesterday was my last one,” said the grizzled rocker. “Starbucks has teamed with Monsanto to sue Vermont, and to stop accurate food labeling. Tell Starbucks to withdraw support for the lawsuit — we have a right to know what we put in our mouths.”
Starbucks didn’t return calls for comment.