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General Mills to Label GMOs

Vermont’s GMO labeling law goes into effect in July, and some major companies are starting to give consumers more information about what’s in their food.

"Friday’s announcement shows that food companies can figure out how to meet the reasonable requirements of Vermont’s mandatory labeling law," Kate Fried writes. (Photo: Food & Water Watch)

On Friday, General Mills announced it will label all of its products sold in the United States that contain genetically engineered ingredients (GMOs). This development comes just days after the Senate failed to pass the DARK Act, which would block state GMO labeling laws, including the one in Vermont that goes into effect on July 1 of this year.

Although the DARK Act is by no means dead, this announcement signals that with Vermont’s law due to take effect in July, companies can and will comply with it.

General Mills owns dozens of brands in the United States including many products you might already have in your kitchen such as Yoplait, Betty Crocker, Haagen-Dazs, Pillsbury, Progresso, Cheerios and many more.

While Big Food and agribusiness companies claim that requiring GMO labels will raise food prices for consumers, Friday’s announcement adds to the evidence that debunks that claim. Campbell Soup Company also recently announced it will label GMOs on products nationwide without raising consumer prices. According to research commissioned by Consumers Union, requiring labeling for foods with genetically engineered ingredients will cost consumers less than a penny per day, or $2.30 per person annually.

While mandatory GMO labeling has been met with resistance by food corporations here in the United States, it is not a novel concept. Australia, Brazil, China, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Russia and Saudi Arabia are among more than 60 countries that require some labeling on GMO foods. But Big Food has spent millions lobbying Congress, state legislatures and federal agencies to keep labels off of GMO foods. The Grocery Manufacturers Association, which represents the biggest food and chemical companies, has spent over $80 million to defeat labeling initiatives in multiple states.

Friday’s announcement shows that food companies can figure out how to meet the reasonable requirements of Vermont’s mandatory labeling law. But we can’t rely on individual corporations to do what’s right. Stay tuned for more news about any attempts by Big Food to use the DARK Act to block state labeling laws, or to come up with a false “compromises” like QR codes.

Nothing short of mandatory-on package labeling will do when it comes to providing consumers with information about GMOs in their food.

 Write your senators today, and ask them to oppose the DARK Act. 

Then check out our vote center to find out how your senators voted last week.

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Kate Fried

Kate Fried

Kate Fried is the Senior Communications Manager at Food & Water Watch. With over a decade of experience, Kate has worked on a wide range of causes such as inner-city economic development, progressive ballot measure campaigns and energy efficient building, among others. Originally from New England, she holds a B.A. in English with a concentration in cultural studies from Oberlin College. She can be reached at kfried(at)fwwatch(dot)org.

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