THE BLOG
11/21/2014 03:53 pm ET Updated Jan 21, 2015

Stay True, Starbucks

Recently I blogged about the Starbucks' petition relative to its membership to the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and the groups lawsuit against the state of Vermont for labeling GMOs.

Starbucks Corporation says it is wrongly accused of supporting the association's lawsuit to block Vermont's GMO labeling law.

Since the news of the lawsuit, I always understood it to be the GMA that was suing Vermont. I assumed the general public does too and understands this to be more of a "tomāto -- tomäto" issue. While Starbucks is not suing Vermont, they are a member of the GMA, who are the ones suing Vermont to block GMO labeling. The GMA represents Starbucks and other corporations, not the public.

The Starbucks-GMA relationship is one that Starbucks is in charge of, and I am concerned that Starbucks is choosing to stand with the association, not the public. I am one of those people that just do not see the difference in driving a bus or riding it; either way you have a chance to get off.

Everyone wants to love Starbucks, myself included. Starbucks to me has been known to stand on their "tip toes" to stretch to do the right thing on several issues.

While I have concerns about the evidence-based science on the management of GMOs, I find the intention to block consumers from information a less than honorable practice. Consumers must be able to make informed choices that impact their lives. Concealing information from the general public does not empower but rather removes the freedom to make informed choices. We should all be concerned when corporations and government join forces to decide what they will share and not share with the public.

Part of my work is to provide relevant information to individuals and communities where they can have an impact on the risk associated with many preventable illnesses including cancer. To do so, consumers must have an active and informed role in the choices they make for themselves, family and community. Generally speaking, I am concerned when I see the flow of information shut down.

Guarding the Starbucks brand, is going to require steps beyond denying involvement in the lawsuit.

Starbucks must walk the walk and talk the talk. Starbucks has jeopardized its trusted brand through its membership to the GMA. Blocking information from the public even by association is not the Starbucks I thought I knew. Starbucks can do what is right; they can be that model corporation that places duty, honor and country above profit.