Earlier this year, Campbell’s Soup announced their intent to label all products which contain Genetically-Modified Foods. This week four other food giants, ConAgra, Kellogg’s, General Mills and candy giant Mars, Inc, joined them.
This good news in transparency in food ingredient disclosure was a major milestone for GMO-labeling advocates. It also came on top of an important defeat of a bill in the U.S. Senate less than a week ago which would have banned states from requiring GMO labeling. With Vermont having already passed a strong mandatory labeling law to take effect on July 1 – and other states considering their own – this keeps the pressure on GMO-producing companies to make public their use of GMOs.
The win has taken time, was hard fought on both sides, and was costly in money for all concerned. This specific wave of successes goes back to 2012’s California Proposition 37, in which food and biotech companies spent as much as $45 million to block mandatory labeling. Washington State, Oregon, and Colorado also saw battles, in which $20 million was spent to block Washington’s Prop 92, $20 million halted Oregon’s Prop 92, and Colorado’s Prop 105 was beaten back through a $12.6 million no-labeling campaign.
The five major U.S. food suppliers who made the decision to label GMOs were also part of these specific “no to labeling” campaigns. According to an independent analysis, Campbell’s Soup paid $598,000 and Mars, Inc. paid $498,350 to stop the forced labeling campaign in California. Other companies, including Nestle USA, Hillshire Brands, Pinnacle Foods Group, Sara Lee Corporation, and the H.J. Heinz company also have contributed to the fight as well.
While the five companies agreeing to say yes to labeling – and the Senate defeat of the Dark Act – are therefore still good news, there are many outliers remaining who have not yet taken the same step.
To help move thanks forward, Food Revolution Network along with the Center for Food Safety and many others have launched a campaign to get Coca Cola to make the pledge to label as well. Those interested in pushing for that are urged to sign the petition they have prepared for this at: http://cokeboycott.com/