(UR) America — Nestlé, the food corporation known for illegally contributing more than $1.75 million to the Grocery Manufacturer’s Association slush fund meant to prevent labeling of food containing genetically modified (GM, GMO) ingredients, has decided to go organic. The company announced this week that they plan to grow their own line of non-GMO products in response to consumer demand.
Nestlé stated in a press release, “The company is broadening its product offerings to give consumers more options with no GMO ingredients and identifying these products with the SGS-verified ‘no GMO ingredients’ claim.”
This news follows an April announcement that the company would remove all genetically modified ingredients from six of their top ice cream brands, as a means to “evolve with customer preferences.”
Buitoni pastas, also a Nestlé brand, will now appear as non-GMO foods, packaged with the “No GMO ingredients” label. Their announcement lacks wholehearted enthusiasm for non-GMO ingredients, though, as the company states,
“While federal, international, and independent organizations have found that foods made with GMO ingredients are as safe as foods made with ingredients from conventional crops, Nestlé USA understands that consumers are seeking choice and many prefer to select products with no GMO ingredients.”
Nestlé’s remarks are disingenuous in the least. A few years ago, until this recent press release, the company has been stalwart in trying to block consumers’ ability to know if they were eating genetically modified food. Nestlé along with other companies, such as Cargill, PepsiCo., Coca-Cola, General Mills, Campbell’s Soup, Hunt, Kraft, and so on, lobbied politicians and spent eye-popping sums in order to keep Americans eating genetically modified food — without their consent, and, often, without their knowledge.
A 2015 ABC News survey found that 93 percent of Americans wanted genetically modified foods to be labeled, however, there is no mandatory labeling law for GMOs except in the state of Vermont, and a few small cities that have managed to pass local-level legislation. Sixty-four additional countries require GM labeling, and many of the food manufacturers, including Nestlé, were selling non-GM versions of their brands in Europe while still trying to force Americans to stomach genetically modified food. Gerber Good Start baby formulas are among the GMO products that Nestlé has manufactured.
Nestlé isn’t the only company doing an about face on GMOs. General Mills, also once against the public concerning its GM labeling demands, now plans to have 250,000 organic acres by the end of 2019 — more than twice the number it had at its disposal prior to the GM labeling showdown with Vermont. Kellogg’s, the popular maker of cereals, has also decided to go organic, blazoning the word across their boxes in huge green and white letters.
It seems these food corporations are looking to recapture lost customers with new organic appeal — and for good reason. Consumer demand for organic products jumped to more than $43.3 billion in recent years, and is expanding at a breakneck pace. Whether people have moved on to more trustworthy brands, or if they will trust companies like Nestlé, who have been openly against GM labeling in the past, remains to be seen.
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