Is deceptive labelling deceiving you?
The other morning when I sat down to breakfast, I was absolutely floored (literally, not physically!) by Post Foods’ deliberate attempt to deceive consumers. I’ve eaten Shredded Wheat for years and am both saddened and frustrated by their labelling attempt (more like marketing ploy) to mislead me as a consumer into thinking genetically modified (GM) wheat exists and as a prudent food company, Post Food is taking steps to ensure none of this (obviously “dangerous”) GM wheat ends up in my cereal bowl.
Post Foods consumer deception is that they would have us believe that GM wheat exists. While some agricultural companies, international research institutions, and universities have undertaken GM wheat research, NONE OF THESE VARIETIES HAVE EVER BEEN COMMERCIALIZED. When Post Foods states on Shredded Wheat boxes that the only ingredient in this cereal is wheat, including Non-GMO verification on their label alludes that GM wheat varieties must exist. This is a deliberate effort to mislead every consumer that purchases or considers purchasing this cereal.
The Non-GMO Project states, “that consumers in North America should have access to clearly-labeled non-GMO food and products, … and help inspire you to lend your support to the growing number of companies who say “no” to GMO contamination.”
Post Foods may be concerned about wheat comingling with GM canola, corn or soybeans, but if this is truly the case, their label should state that trace amounts of these crops may be present in Shredded Wheat. The label doesn’t say this. The label states, “Post Shredded Wheat has only ONE ingredient – 100% whole grain wheat”. It says nothing about the possibility of trace amounts of other grains being present. Hence the deception.
Labelling rules are very straightforward in Canada. It’s illegal to market food products with labels claiming the product doesn’t contain something that doesn’t exist. For example, a brewing company wouldn’t be able to label a brand of beer as being made from ‘non-GM barley’ as no GM barley varieties exist. Essentially, it is illegal to label products that intentionally misinform consumers. Post Foods is purposefully being sneaky about their labelling as they don’t actually claim that GM wheat exists, they instead manipulate Canada’s labelling rules by adding the Non-GMO verified label, which encourages consumer into believing that GM wheat must exist.
Product labelling is monitored in Canada by the Competition Bureau, which “prohibit making any deceptive representations for the purpose of promoting a product or a business interest, and encourage the provision of sufficient information to allow consumers to make informed choices.” The action of Post Foods to add the Non-GMO verified label is deliberatively deceptive and quite possibly violates Canada’s product labelling legislation.
I have filed a complaint with the Competition Bureau over Post Foods’ product labelling practices. If you, like me, are completely frustrated by food companies misleading consumers, then I encourage you to file a complaint with the Competition Bureau, Health Canada, CFIA or to complain directly to Post Foods.
If we, as consumers, don’t begin to stand up for what’s correct, fair and accurate, then food companies will continue to deliberately mislead us on all kinds of other food products. In the end, they will charge us more for this. I for one, am fed up with companies such as Post Foods and intend to try and do something about this. Stay tuned for updates!!