The voices of those who want GMOs clearly labeled on all food products are being heard! While there is still no federal law mandating GMO labeling, large companies are beginning to respond to consumer demands and voluntarily labeling their products. The latest company to do this is General Mills.
General Mills’ decision to go forward with labeling all of its products across the United States was based on Vermont’s labeling law enacted in 2014. The mandatory labeling of GMOs across the state of Vermont is set to begin on July 1 of this year.
While this was, and continues to be, a huge victory for informed consumers in Vermont, the law is making waves across the nation, as well.
On the decision, General Mills’ head of US retail operations, Jeff Harmening, announced: “We can’t label our products for only one state without significantly driving up costs for our consumers, and we simply won’t do that. The result: Consumers all over the country will soon begin seeing words legislated by the state of Vermont on the labels of many of their favorite General Mills food products.”
General Mills has also updated their website to include searchable information about GMOs in their products. The website states: “We have added a simple search tool on our website, found at Ask.GeneralMills.com, to provide GMO ingredient information for hundreds of our US products, along with reference information.”
In January 2016, another food industry conglomerate, Campbell Soup Company, announced that they will voluntarily label GMOs. In a statement, Campbell’s representatives wrote: “Campbell is optimistic a federal solution can be established in a reasonable amount of time if all the interested stakeholders cooperate. However, if that is not the case, Campbell is prepared to label all of its US products for the presence of ingredients that were derived from GMOs.”
For both General Mills and Campbell’s, GMO labels will mirror labels mandated in Vermont. Near the ingredients list, if a product contains one or more GMO, a line will appear reading: “Partially produced with genetic engineering. For more information about GMO ingredients, visit WhatsInMyFood.com.”
Consumers are being heard!
The fact that General Mills and Campbell’s have decided to voluntarily label GMO-containing products is a huge sign that consumer voices are being heard. More and more people across the nation are demanding clear and honest labeling of their foods, and companies are starting to listen.
Both General Mills and Campbell’s are part of the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), which has spent huge sums of money lobbying against state labeling laws. However, despite this, both have bent toward consumer demands.
For General Mills, Media Brand Relations Manager Mike Siemienas wrote: “Our stance on GMO labeling is consistent and clear — we support a national solution for GMO labeling. We’ve called on the US Congress to set this standard, and continue to press for action.”
On their website, Campbell’s wrote: “We will continue to be a member of GMA and will participate in food industry initiatives that align with our [p]urpose and business goals. However, as a result of the change in our position on GMO labeling, Campbell is withdrawing from all efforts led by groups opposing mandatory GMO labeling legislation, including those led by GMA.”
This is exciting, indeed. If more and more companies decide to voluntarily label GMOs, it seems a federal mandate on labeling may be on the horizon — though the fight is certainly not over. Gary Hirshberg, chairman of the organization Just Label It, aptly summarized: “If large companies like General Mills and Campbell’s are accepting that this is what consumers want, then so should our political representatives. It is now time to put this debate behind us and realize that the citizens have spoken.”
What do you think? Is a federal labeling legislation close at hand?
Tanya is a writer at The Alternative Daily with a passion for meditation, music, poetry, and overall creative and active living. She has a special interest in exploring traditional Eastern remedies and superfoods from around the globe, and enjoys spending time immersed in nature.