Some Companies are Saying “Hell to the No” on GMOs

Staci Strauss

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Some companies are saying no to GMOs, quietly eliminating them from their ingredients list, but why aren’t they telling anybody?

I read and listened to a great article on one of our favorites–NPR’s The Salt, and learned that Cheerios, Grape Nuts, and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream have all recently eliminated GMO ingredients, but are keeping it quiet.

According to NPR:

The news that Ben & Jerry’s is taking a stand on a controversial issue is no surprise; it’s part of the company’s calling card. But some other mainstream companies are carefully — and much more quietly — calibrating their non-GMO strategies.

General Mills’ original plain Cheerios are now GMO-free, but the only announcement was in a company blog post in January. And you won’t see any label on the box highlighting the change. Grape Nuts, another cereal aisle staple, made by Post, is also non-GMO. And Target has about 80 of its own brand items certified GMO-free.

This is such a complicated issue! In the first place, it is very difficult to find large quantities of GMO free corn or soybeans, as 90% of those crops are GMO’s. It is also difficult as a grower to grow non-GMO crops in an increasingly GMO-laden world. But Ben & Jerry’s are taking the most vocal stand, retiring flavors that contain popular products such as Heath Bars, and reinventing flavors that are GMO-free. Bless their hearts!

So it seems the consumer is still king, as long as we all makes some noise!

But here is the irony: Ben & Jerry’s is owned by Unilever, and Unilever has contributed heavily to the Grocery Manufacturer’s Association–you know, those crazy guys who are suing the state of Vermont for passing the first law in the country requiring proper GMO labeling? So as usual, nothing is perfect, but it is so good to know that some folks are trying!

Author Jane Lindholm continues her article on npr.org.

 Megan Westgate runs the Non-GMO Project, which acts as an independent third-party verifier of GMO-free products, including Target’s. She says her organization knows about “a lot of exciting cool things that are happening that for whatever strategic reasons get kept pretty quiet.”

The Non-GMO Project has certified more than 20,000 products since it launched in 2007, and Westgate says this is one of the fastest growing sectors of the natural food industry, representing $6 billion in annual sales. But just because they’re testing the water doesn’t mean most mainstream companies are ready to start publicizing their changes.

It seems that these giant companies are hedging their bets, they are trying to determine just how important it is to consumers to have access to GMO-free foods, or at the very least, be informed if a product does contain GMOs through proper labeling.

Our friends over at Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company have for a long time been all over the problems with GMOs. They put up a very helpful post on their Facebook that lists 10 problems genetically modified foods are already causing.

So it seems the consumer is still king, as long as we all makes some noise!

That is why it is so important to raise your voice through petitions, protests, and best of all–refusal at the register–be very wary of buying anything in a box.

Buy fresh fruits and vegetables from your local farmer at the market–ask them if their seeds are owned by Monsanto, be an informed consumer! When a company like Ben & Jerry’s makes a move like this, and you eat ice cream- buy their ice cream. Your dollar is so powerful!

Of course it takes more time and effort, but what is more important than what you put in your body? And even if you aren’t concerned about GMO related health risks, don’t you at least want these companies to be compelled to complete transparency when it comes to ingredients? Peru has the right idea, they banned GMO’s for ten years to see what if any, negatives there might be. Hey America-let’s not be Number 1 on taking the risk of being lab rats for GMO’s. It’s up to each one of us, and it’s very simple. Do. not. buy. products. containing. GMO’s.

What do you think about this most important issue? Would you sign a petition against GMOs?

Photo credit: ABC News