American food manufacturer General Mills announced that it will begin labeling all its products in that have genetically modified organisms as ingredients. The changes will hit grocery stores over the next several weeks. The move was prompted by a new state law in Vermont, which requires companies to put such information starting July 1.
However, the company cannot label products for only one state without driving up costs for consumers, said General Mills Vice President Jeff Harmening, so the company’s response is to put up labels nationwide.
Still, Harmening said one thing is needed to tackle the issue of genetically modified food is a national solution.
“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,” said Harmening. “At the same time, we know that some consumers are interested in knowing which products contain GMO ingredients.”
The Senate recently blocked a bill that would invalidate state and local efforts that require manufacturers to label products with genetically modified organisms. The bill would have given food makers the choice to disclose GMO ingredients.
Another spokesperson for General Mills said the company’s move does not indicate that it is backing away from its call for a national standard on GMO labeling.
The company has added a search tool on its website, which will provide GMO ingredient information for its United States products.
Other Companies Follow General Mills
Incidentally, General Mills is the maker of products including Haagen-Dazs ice cream, Nature Valley granola bars, Cheerios cereal, and many others. The labels will hit grocery stores over the next several weeks.
Other companies such as Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc., Whole Foods Market Inc., and Campbell Soup Co. have started requiring GMO labels or have abandoned the use of GMO ingredients.