In a move that will likely rock the mainstream, mega-food industry, Campbell Soup Company announced that it will work to become the first major food company to adopt food labels that will disclose genetically modified ingredients.
The decision by Campbell to attach a GMO label to its products is undoubtedly motivated by the continually-growing pressure from the people for food companies to engage in food transparency. Food providers such as Chipotle, Ben & Jerry’s, and even Hershey’s and General Mills have made moves to limit or eliminate genetically modified ingredients in at least some of their products – but never has going GMO-free been so mainstream and on a grand-scale.
Though the news isn’t completely out of the blue. In 2015, Campbell’s made several major announcements about improving the sustainability of its foods, including an aim to offer more non-GMO and organic foods.
The change in labeling is now expected to take 12 to 18 months.
The company stated:
“- Campbell’s will be launching several lines of organic kid’s soups, and removing MSG from all their kid’s soups. In August 2015, the company will introduce Campbell’s Organic soup for kids in three chicken noodle varieties. The soups will be non-GMO and certified Organic.
– Pepperidge Farm will be launching several organic wheat versions of their popular Goldfish Crackers. Look for organic wheat versions of regular, cheddar, and parmesan in the coming year. They still need to remove GMOs and go completely organic with the rest of their ingredients.
– Increasing organics across other food lines, and increasing the number of organic products offered by Plum.”
It was a bit of a shock to those of us in the health food industry, as Campbell contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to fight GMO labeling efforts across the nation.
But based on recent interviews with Denise Morrison, chief executive of Campbell, it seems the company’s tune has changed (at least on the surface).
“We will withdraw from any coalition that doesn’t support mandatory labeling,” Ms. Morrison said. “We were involved in fighting the state ballots in California and Washington out of concern over a state-by-state patchwork, yet we didn’t participate in the fights in any other state beyond those. Any money we did spend after that was in support of seeking a federal solution.”
Adding to the news and probably most intriguing is the fact that Campbell is actually calling nationwide, uniform GMO labeling that would be mandatory.
“We’re optimistic that a federal solution can be reached in a reasonable amount of time, but if that’s not the case, we’re preparing to label all our products across the portfolio.
…We’ve always believed consumers have a right to know what’s in their food. We know that 92 percent of Americans support G.M.O. labeling, and transparency is a critical part of our purpose.”
About three-quarters of products made by Campbell (maker of brands like Pepperidge Farm, Prego, Plum Organics and V8 in addition to its namesake soups) – contain genetically modified ingredients from corn, canola, soybeans or sugar beets, the 4 most prevalent GMO crops.
This is a great win for the health food industry at large, as it shows a clear sign that our desire and demand for GMO labeling and food transparency is reaching new heights.
Featured image credit: (AP Photo/J. David Ake, File)