Campbell’s Announces GMO Labeling

Campbell’s announced labeling of genetically modified ingredients in nearly all of its products. Owner of brands like Pepperidge Farms, Prego, Plum Organics, and V8, Campbell’s decision subjects the company to the very real possibility of a significant drop in revenue while also placing pressure on other corporations to follow suit. Campbell’s CEO, Denise Morrison, calls for immediate action to mandate uniform labeling for all products containing genetically modified ingredients.

In Vermont, there have been a few visible signs of GMO labeling already. Stephanie Strom, New York Times science and health reporter, has been covering GMO labeling. She explains that Vermont will officially require the use of labeling of GMOs in July. Campbell’s products contain nearly three-quarters of canola, corn, soybeans, and sugar beets, the four most commonly genetically engineered crops.

Though companies such as Campbell’s are making efforts toward GMO labeling, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Congress have been slow to react to the issue of GMO labeling. The FDA has been debating about the use of the term “non-GMO,” and whether or not it is a suitable way to describe foods that may contain genetically engineered ingredients. Some in the FDA suggest that “non-GMO” be replaced with terms such as “ not bioengineered” or with a statement directly stating that the product was made with genetically modified crops.

Claire Parker, spokeswoman for the Coalition for Safe and Affordable Food, supports the FDA for not taking on GMO labeling, claiming it misleads consumers and increases sales. “All of the biggest food companies in the country are looking how to source non-gmo ingredients right,” states Megan Westgate, Executive Director of the Non-GMO project.

Last year, The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015 was passed by the House of Representatives, preventing states from issuing labels for foods containing any GMO ingredients, according to Lydia Wheeler and Cristina Marco of Politico. Author of the bill, Representative Mike Pompeo, claims that the requirement of food labeling would be expensive and that it is not evident that foods created from biotechnology has links to any health concerns or ailments.

Steve Carmody, reporting for Michigan Radio, reports that Senator Debbie Stabenow has been leading an attempt to pass federal legislation that will require labeling for foods that contain GMOs in order to inform and educate consumers about what is in their food. “There’s lots of things we need to know as consumers,” Stabenow says about the matter.

The irony is that the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act that was passed last year to prevent individual states from passing GMO labeling laws may actually have helped pave the road for the possibility of a federal law that will require GMO labeling.

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