Transparency—Pending

Pepperidge Farm, Swanson’s Foods, Bolthouse Farms, Pace, Prego, Spaghetti O’s all have something in common—they are owned by Campbell’s. Yes, the makers of the chicken noodle and tomato soups many of us ate while growing up.

The above brands also have something else in common; Campbell’s plans to begin disclosing if genetically modified foods (GMOs) are in their products.

Denise Morrison, their chief executive, stated: “We are operating with a ‘Consumer First’ mindset. We put the consumer at the center of everything we do.” She went on to say: “In addition, we have declared our intention to set the standard for transparency in the food industry.”

Connecting with the above, Morrison also said: “Today, consistent with our purpose, we announce our support for mandatory national labeling of products that may contain genetically modified organisms (GMO) and propose that the federal government produce a national standard for non-GMO claims made on food packaging.”

The above quote is interesting, because of the pending legislation, “The Safe and Accurate Food labeling Act” (H.R. 1599), that the House of Representatives passed in July 2015 (still to be voted on in the Senate). Among other things, this legislation would ban states from passing laws requiring the labeling of GMO foods. Interestingly, this act has been referred to by opponents of the legislation as the Deny Americans the Right to Know Act (DARK Act). With her above remark, Morrison is opposing both the above legislation and the major food companies supporting H.R. 1599.

We have no way of knowing what brought about Campbell’s shift—oh, to be a fly on the wall to know their thinking. I would have loved it if Campbell’s had also issued a challenge to Kraft Foods, PepsiCo, General Mills, ConAgra, Nestlé, and other food companies, to follow Campbell’s example regarding the labeling of GMO ingredients.

As you know from my previous posts (October 12, 2015, “The Right To Choose” & September 21, 2015, “GMO & GE—Different Names, Same Process”), I strongly believe in transparency and having the right to know what’s in our food.

Morrison also stated: “I want to stress that we’re in no way disputing the science behind GMOs or their safety. The overwhelming weight of scientific evidence indicates that GMOs are safe, and foods derived from crops using genetically modified seeds are not nutritionally different from other foods.”

No mention is made to which research she is referring to or who sponsored this research—was it the food industry or was it independently conducted? Also, Morrison fails to mention the scientific research showing that GMOs are not safe to eat.

I possess a “yes/but” mindset of Campbell’s announcement.

Yes, since I am opposed to GMOs, I am pleased by Campbell’s announcement and will follow their progress over the next one to two years to see if they’re fulfilling their promise “to set the standard for transparency in the food industry.”

But, in this ongoing discussion and in light of Morrison’s endorsement of GMOs, we need to be provided with and have access to all the facts and information concerning this important topic.

Again, contact your senators to let them know your stand on H.R.1599.

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