I’m not a huge fan of genetically modified organisms (GMO). I'm not convinced that they are safe for our food supply. I'm concerned that they can cross pollinate nearby fields, and am concerned that so many other countries have banned them (which can put our farmers' exports at risk if their crops become contaminated with GMOs as happened to some Oregon farmers last year).
Those are just some of the reasons I support companies committed to phasing out genetically modified ingredients, and support the labeling of GMOs. I find it unsurprising that many large companies are fighting tooth-and-nail against such legislation, pouring large amounts of money into the fight against states that are attempting to require such labeling. What a lot of people don’t know is that a large percentage of foods in our supermarkets contain GMO foods. Much of the food fed to livestock is also genetically modified.
For any large company, dropping GMO ingredients is a significant choice, so I was surprised to hear that some companies are quietly phasing out GMO ingredients, even while they continue to pour money into fighting the GMO labeling movement. I was surprised to learn that even the original Cheerios is GMO-free now. So why are companies dumping GMO ingredients while they continue to fight against anti-GMO legislation?
It’s all about demand.
I thought this quote from Nathan Hendricks, an agricultural economist from Kansas State University, was interesting, “Ultimately, these big companies aren't just friends with Monsanto or something. They want to make a profit, and they want to be able to do what's going to make them money."
Since GMO labeling would not be beneficial to these companies, they are willing to fight such legislation. But because consumers are starting to demand GMO-free foods, they are also working to meet that demand.
It’s a great example of the power of the consumer. In the end, it is us, the consumers, who can sway big companies. Companies may be fine with GMOs, but if the consumer wants GMO-free food, they will provide it.
Many of these companies aren’t making many public statements about these quiet changes they are making behind the scenes. It looks like they are still waiting to see which way the wind blows on this issue. My hope is that it continues to blow against GMOs in our food supply.
Related on MNN:
- How do you know if it's non GMO?
- Could GMO apples taint this fruit's good reputation?
- General Mills makes a huge GMO statement