GMO: Mars and ConAgra Join Campbell's in the Pro-Labeling Movement
Written By: Christine Dantz
While Congress may have struck down GMO labeling, a few more prominent companies have stepped up to meet Campbell's challenge to give consumers what they are asking for…transparency in labeling.
Back in January, Campbell's issued a news release from their Camden, NJ headquarters establishing the company's support for a national food labeling standard that identifies foods with genetically modified ingredients.
"The company continues to oppose a patchwork of state-by-state labeling laws, which it believes are incomplete, impractical, and create unnecessary confusion for consumers."
Mars, ConAgra, and General Mills are the latest companies making the decision to support the pro-GMO labeling agenda. The companies will begin labeling all of their products that contain GMOs. But, before we congratulate them for bypassing Congress, the reason behind these significant changes aren't 100 percent of the heart. Instead, the companies are preparing for a new state law in Vermont that goes into effect on July 1, 2016.
The state law passed in 2014, is the first law in the U.S. to require companies to label all genetically modified ingredients used in their products. However, the law isn't the only reason that the changes are afoot in the food industry.
A statement from the Mars website explains the company's position,
"At Mars, we not only ensure the safety of all raw materials in our products, we're also committed to being transparent with our consumers so they can understand what's in the products they love."
What is the problem with skipping Congress and following the new Vermont law? Cost. A news release from ConAgra Foods explains,
". . . addressing state-by-state labeling requirements adds significant complications and costs for food companies."
The bottom line for any business is profit. American companies are torn between the need to follow the law, the desire of consumers to know every ingredient in the food they eat and serve their families, as well as keep the cost of their products affordable, and still earning a profit.
Companies like General Mills will soon roll out changes, due to Vermont's labeling law, to all U.S. states and territories. But they fear that other U.S. states will follow Vermont's lead with their own requirements.
According to a blog entry on General Mills' website written by Jeff Harmening, the Executive Vice President and COO for U.S. Retail at General Mills,
"With the Vermont labeling legislation upon us, and with the distinct possibility that other states will enact different labeling requirements, what we need is simple: We need a national solution."
Read more about the tug-of-war over GMO labeling at CNBC, ConAgra to disclose GMOs on labels throughout U.S.
GMO. (n.d.). Retrieved from Mars.com.
Harmening, J. (2016, March 18). We need a national solution for GMO labeling. Retrieved from taste of General Mills.
News Release: Campbell Announces Support for Mandatory GMO Labeling. (2016, January 7). Retrieved from Campbell's Soup Company.
News Release-Statement: GMO Labeling. (n.d.). Retrieved from ConAgra Foods.
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