By S. Johnson
After years of public opposition, General Mills has finally caved and will start labeling all its products which contain GMOs.
The decision wasn’t made out of the goodness of General Mills’ heart, however. The company has a history of actively opposing GMO labeling. In the past, General Mills donated over $1.1 million to the campaign against Proposition 37 in California, and $695,000 against Proposition 92 in Oregon, both of which would have required the mandatory labeling of GM products.
The choice to label GM products by General Mills wasn’t a choice at all. Instead, it was brought about by a new law set to go into effect in Vermont, which will require the labeling of all foods that contain GMOs.
The shills at General Mills
As Jeff Harmening, head of General Mills’ U.S. retail operations, wrote in a letter posted on the company’s website:
“I have been eagerly awaiting a resolution of the GMO labeling debate in Washington and am disappointed that a national solution has still not been reached.
“As the discussions continue in Washington, one thing is very clear: Vermont state law requires us to start labeling certain grocery store food packages that contain GMO ingredients or face significant fines.
“We can’t label our products for only one state without significantly driving up costs for our consumers and we simply will not do that.
“The result: consumers all over the U.S. will soon begin seeing words legislated by the state of Vermont on the labels of many of their favorite General Mills products.”
The announcement was a major victory for consumers, and a major blow to food producers who have taken great strides to deny Americans the basic right to know what is in their food. Approximately 90 percent of Americans are in favor of labeling GM ingredients.
The fact that General Mills finally buckled to the will of the people does not absolve the company of its track record against GM labeling. As Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, explained:
“Isn’t it interesting that General Mills only decided to label GMOs after it was forced to by voters? This is yet another example of a powerful food corporation desperately trying to hide its ingredients from consumers and then only resorting to full transparency after it’s facing massive fines for failing to do so. General Mills has no business ethics, and like every large food corporation, it has to be forced into compliance under the threat of financial punishment.”
It’s easy to understand why General Mills has been vitriolically opposed to GM labeling when one considers the nature of their products. GMO Inside reports that General Mills’ foods are “chock full of corn, soy, and sugars — ingredients that are almost always genetically modified in the United States.”
General Mills maintains GMOs are safe despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary
Despite succumbing to defeat, Harmening maintains that GMOs are perfectly safe. “All sides of this debate, 20 years of research, and every major health and safety agency in the world agree that GMOs are not a health or safety concern,” he wrote. “At the same time, we know that some consumers are interested in knowing which products contain GMO ingredients,” he added.
Of course, these remarks ignore the growing body of scientific literature that undermines the safety of GMO products, as documented by Altered Genes, Twisted Truth and GMO Myths and Truths: A Citizen’s Guide to the Evidence on the Safety and Efficacy of Genetically Modified Crops and Foods.
The announcement follows in the trail of Campbell Soup’s decision in January to label GM products, and the Senate’s rejection of Sen. Pat Roberts’ Deny Americans the Right to Know Act (or DARK Act), which would have have outlawed state-level GMO labeling laws nationwide.
Vermont’s new law requiring the mandatory labeling of GM products will go into effect in July. Other states are flirting with similar bills; however, no national GMO labeling law has been set yet.
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