A watershed moment has just occurred in food transparency. General Mills (GM), the same company that tried to impair genetically modified food-labeling by donating more than a million dollars to defeat legislation in several states, is about to label its products containing genetically modified ingredients.
Along with being part of the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) – Big Food’s national lobby group, GM has announced that it will label all their products if they contain genetically modified ingredients.
The multinational food company says that it will label GM products due to a need to be cost-effective with Vermont’s new GMO labeling law going into effect this summer, but there could be other incentives for General Mills to start labeling.
Jeff Harmening, head of General Mills’ U.S. retail operations said in a post on a company blog Friday:
“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.”
Despite a history of trying to keep Americans in the DARK about what is in their food, the company suddenly seems to be bowing to consumer demand for food labeling.
According to Just Label It:
- For California’s Prop 37, GM gave $1,230,300 to keep Americans from knowing if their food contained genetically modified ingredients.
- For Washington’s Initiative 522, GM spent $869,271 to once again stop foods from being labeled if they contained GMO ingredients.
- For Oregon’s Measure 92, GM gave just shy of $695,000 to defeat the bill.
- For Colorado’s Prop 105, GM gave $820,000 to once again fight mandatory labeling for food containing genetically modified organisms.
“By any measure today’s development is a watershed moment in the fight for more transparency,” said Scott Faber of the Environmental Working Group. “I applaud General Mills. They’re going to disclose the presence of GMO’s and give everyone factual information. This is terrific for consumers.”
Vermont isn’t the only state with a GMO labeling initiative, though it is the first in the nation to officially pass one. Vermont may have been the writing on the wall for Big Food companies becoming increasingly less resilient in a growing anti-GMO nation.
Here is a state-by-state rundown of active GMO labeling bills and campaigns:
“Arizona: GMO-Free Phoenix
California: California Right to Know
Colorado: GMO-Free Colorado
Connecticut: Northeast Organic Farming Association, CT Chapter (Proposed Bill: HB 5117)
Florida: Label GMO Florida
Hawaii: Label It Hawaii (Proposed Bill: HB 2034/SB 2443)
Idaho: GMO-Free Idaho
Illinois: GMO Free Illinois
Massachusetts: Northeast Organic Farming Association, MA Chapter (Proposed Bill: H3276)
Michigan: No GMO 4 Michigan
Minnesota: Right to Know Minnesota (Proposed Bill: S.F. 2563)
New Jersey: Label GMOs in New Jersey (Proposed Bill: HB 1367)
North Carolina: (Proposed Bill: HB 446)
Ohio: GMO Free Ohio
Oregon: GMO Free Oregon (Proposed Bills: SB 517 & HB 3346)
Utah: GMO Free Utah
Vermont: Vermont Right to Know GMO (Proposed Bill: HB 722)
Virginia: (Proposed Bill: HB 606)
Washington: Label It Washington (Bill Title: HB 2637)
For up-to-date information on the status of state legislation, visit OpenStates.org.”
General Mills has also added a search tool on its website, ask.generalmills.com, to provide GMO ingredient information for hundreds of U.S. products. Does this mean that the company will also soon be forced to stop using them?
Featured image source/credit: Reuters