GMOs are not the answer, Nestlé personnel says, but they’ll follow the money. Nestlé has taken measures to calculate its water footprint and educate farmers to practice sustainable farming, but has meanwhile wiggled over $1 million to the “Say No to 37” campaign. (The campaign fights the proposal to label genetically modified organisms—GMOs–in California.)
Nestlé Supports Sustainability (Or Not)
Nestlé has been caught contradicting itself, however. While one of its hands pushes against GMO-labeling, the other—the Swiss one—is championing sustainable agriculture. Hans Jöhr, Nestlé’s corporate head of sustainable agriculture, proclaims that GM isn’t the solution to world hunger.
“There are a lot of new breeding technologies today that don’t use GM food. You can do a lot of things without GM. GM per se is not a golden bullet, but may be an interesting tool in the box.”
While Jöhr may have the right idea, Nestlé USA isn’t cooperating.
“We have a very simple way of looking at GM: listen to what the consumer wants. If they don’t want it in products, you don’t put it in them.”
Consumers Uninformed, Betrayed by FDA
The problem with that “very simple way of looking at GM” is that North American consumers don’t want GMOs in their food. Back in March, the Food and Drug Administration deleted 1 million signatures on the “Just Label It” Campaign calling for GMO labeling. In one survey, The Hill’s Mark Mellman found that “voters express almost unanimous support for mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods.” Other surveys and polls have revealed at least 89 percent support for labeling.
Interestingly, a Brazilian court has recently demanded that multi-billion dollar food giant Nestlé label all of their products as genetically modified that have over 1% GMO content. The ruling reportedly coincides with Brazilian law which demands all food manufacturers alert consumers to the presence of GMOs within their products.
Of course there is no question - Nestlé is not in favor of GMO labeling.
Americans and Canadians aren’t asking corporations to put GMOs in their food. More likely, many citizens are simply uninformed—and the likes of Nestlé USA would keep it that way, no matter that Switzerland and dozens of countries and regions have notable restrictions and even bans on GMOs.
California will vote on Prop 37 on November 6th and, with luck, pitch the remaining dominoes to fall in favor of healthier, more sustainable food and practices.