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[Genet-news] LABELLING & FOOD: USA: General Mills To Label Products With Genetically Modified Ingredients



                                  PART 1


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TITLE:   USA: GENERAL MILLS TO LABEL PRODUCTS WITH GENETICALLY MODIFIED INGREDIENTS

SOURCE:  LIFE: Tech Times

AUTHOR:  Alyssa Navarro

URL:     http://www.techtimes.com/articles/142350/20160319/general-mills-to-label-us-products-with-genetically-modified-ingredients.htm

DATE:    21.03.2016

SUMMARY: "American food manufacturer General Mills announced on Friday that it will begin labelling all its products in the United States that has genetically modified organisms as ingredients. The move was prompted by a new state law in Vermont, which requires companies to put such information starting July 1."

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USA: GENERAL MILLS TO LABEL PRODUCTS WITH GENETICALLY MODIFIED INGREDIENTS

American food manufacturer General Mills announced on Friday that it will begin labelling all its products in the United States that has genetically modified organisms as ingredients. 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: 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 labelling.

"We have essentially run out of time," said Mary Lynn Carver. "We have no other choice. Our supply system doesn't work state-by-state."

The Minneapolis-based company has added a search tool on its website, which will provide GMO ingredient information for its U.S. products.

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.

Meanwhile, the Grocery Manufacturers Association, an advocate against food labeling and a representative of food industry companies, called on the Senate to get back to work on the issue.

"One small state's law is setting labeling standards for consumers across the country," the association said. "This announcement should give new urgency to the need for action on a national law when the Senate returns from its recess in April."

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.



                                  PART 2

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TITLE:   USA: WHY GENERAL MILLS ADOPTS GMO LABELING, BUT CONGRESS HESITATES

SOURCE:  CSMonitor

AUTHOR:  Lucy Schouten

URL:     http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/2016/0319/Why-General-Mills-adopts-GMO-labeling-but-Congress-hesitates

DATE:    21.03.2016

SUMMARY: "General Mills has followed Campbell's Soup by promising to label foods containing GMO products to appease the public as Congress fails to reach a labeling compromise."

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USA: WHY GENERAL MILLS ADOPTS GMO LABELING, BUT CONGRESS HESITATES

General Mills flew the white flag of surrender alongside a GMO label, as the company announced Friday it would place labels on its products containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs). 

This makes General Mills the second major food company this year to acquiesce to GMO labels and comes after the Senate failed on Wednesday to strike a compromise and override individual state laws. In January, Campbell's Soup announced a decision to break from the food industry line and support labels, saying that although they believe GMOs are safe, the patchy labeling requirements will confuse grocery shoppers.

"Although we believe that consumers have the right to know whatâ??s in their food, we also believe that a state-by-state piecemeal approach is incomplete, impractical and costly to implement for food makers," Campbell's Soup wrote at the time. "More importantly, itâ??s confusing to consumers."

Statements by both companies reveal frustration with the federal government's inability to resolve the issue, which has taken on new urgency because Vermont's law requiring GMO labels takes effect in July. Food companies spent $100 million lobbying against mandatory labels last year, but with Wednesday's failure in the Senate, General Mills apparently decided the battle was lost. 

The food companies' position on GMOs is backed by the American Medical Association, almost 90 percent of scientists from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the US Food and Drug Association, and a host of other organizations, but the public has remained suspicious of GMOs for over a decade. 

In 2003, in the midst of a push to support GMO foods by the Bush administration, 37 percent of Americans said genetically altering foods was a good thing, Pew Research Center found. By 2015, when the US House of Representatives passed a bill nixing GMO labeling requirements by the states, only 37 percent of US adults called the foods "generally safe" while 57 percent called them "unsafe," and half check their groceries for GMO labels at least sometimes. 

The conclusion? A majority of Americans want GMO labels â?? 66 percent want required labels with only 7 percent opposed, according to a January 2015 Associated Press/GfK poll. Companies such as Campbell's Soup and General Mills say if the public wants them, they can have them. They have not let Congress off the hook, however, because states can still enact different labeling requirements that will be expensive. 

"We canâ??t label our products for only one state without significantly driving up costs for our consumers," wrote General Mills CEO Jeff Harmening in a blog post. "With the Vermont labeling legislation upon us, and with the distinct possibility that other states will enact different labeling requirements, what we need is simple: We need a national solution."

The Grocery Manufacturers Association followed the General Mills announcement with disapproval of the federal government's inaction.

"One small stateâ??s law is setting labeling standards for consumers across the country," the trade organization for food and drink companies said in a statement. "Food companies are being forced to make decisions on how to comply and having to spend millions of dollars."



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