General Mills (GM) recently disclosed that starting July 1st, it will disclose information regarding genetically modified ingredients, or GMOs, on its product labels across the country. This is due to Vermont’s updated labeling law, which makes it mandatory, instead of voluntary, to label this information.
Some popular products produced by General Mills are various versions of Cheerios, Cocoa Puffs, Hamburger Helper, Kix, Nature Valley bars and Pillsbury pancake batter. I can already hear the soft whisper of a “no…” under your breath, but this actually a good thing.
In fact, this new law is a win for many. However, those people also believe the fight for food transparency from big businesses doesn’t stop until all other companies are also forced by law to disclose GMO information to its consumers.
There are two sides to this issue. Companies like GM believe genetically modified foods are needed now and should be used more in the future. GM’s website says genetically modified ingredients are needed due to an “increasingly hungry world” and our growing population (it’s more like increasingly hangry world, but we know what they mean). However, those who do not believe genetically modified foods are needed now or in the future think this because they don’t believe GMO foods are worth the possible costs in health.
GM’s website also states, “On safety—our number one priority—we find broad global consensus among food and safety regulatory bodies that approved GM ingredients are safe.” However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has said that all genetically modified ingredients currently on the market are safe. Wait…what? Advocates for labeling, however, are saying the issue needs additional study, and that people have the right to know whether the products they buy contain the ingredients. Okay, there ya go.
Natural Society, an updated website of recent finds founded by two men who call themselves natural activists, strives to encourage “alternative health” tactics to solving health problems. They say that “GM is also the same company that tried to impart genetically modified food labeling by donating more than a million dollars to defeat legislation in several states.” As time progresses, favoritism for alternative health increases. It seems our legislation is catching on to the trend, too.
Surprisingly, not all food companies are against the possibility of the universal law. Campbell Soup Co. is all for it, saying they will also start labeling GMO information if other companies aren’t forced to in a “reasonable amount of time.” Sure, it doesn’t make the products healthier, but at least as consumers we can be knowledgeable about what we’re putting in our bodies. Campbell issued this image to show their support:
The main motivation here isn’t to stop people from buying certain items, but rather to keep big food businesses transparent to consumers. So maybe you will (or you won’t) still buy your Cocoa Puffs, and still eat foods that you shouldn’t. We all need to soothe our cravings sometimes, but at least we’re being told the truth about the items we buy.
Check out the Washington Post for some more details.