General Mills announced today that it will be the second major food conglomerate to voluntarily label genetically modified organisms (GMO) in its processed food products sold in the United States.
General Mills had previously been supporting an initiative to ban GMO labeling for any food sold in the United States, but for obvious reasons, there wasn’t enough support in Congress for such a measure. Conceding that honest GMO food labeling is the political future of the issue, General Mills has decided to get started now. It plans to be guided by the Vermont labeling guidelines, also provisionally adopted by a few other states, even though those requirements haven’t yet gone into effect.
The recordkeeping and labeling costs will be trivial, since food manufacturers already face laws requiring the labeling of GMOs or, often, banning such ingredients outright for safety reasons in most of the packaged-food world. Most consumers won’t notice the difference, but General Mills is preparing web resources to help consumers understand the changes in labeling. The most important point to understand is that the labeling changes don’t represent a change in the recipe of a product. It is only that the food label is being made more accurate and complete.