Nearly a week has passed since canned soup giant Campbell’s announced its support of mandatory national GMO labeling, and it has remained the only major CPG company to publicly announce its stance on the controversial issue.
FoodNavigator-USA reached out to five other leading CPG companies to get a reaction. Kraft Heinz, PepsiCo, WhiteWave Foods, and Hormel declined to comment.
Kellogg was the only company to provide a statement. When asked about its stance on GMO labeling and what it thought of Campbell’s announcement, Kellogg said that it “strongly believes in transparency, and that people should know what’s in their food and where it comes from.”
It also encouraged “Congress to quickly enact legislation to address this uneven approach,” and said it “remain [s] open to all solutions that are transparent, consistent and grounded in sound science.”
To label or not to label
When asked whether or not Kellogg will follow Campbell’s steps, the company said that “transparency is more than just a label,” adding that it has introduced a web forum called OpenForBreakfast.com, where consumers can engage with the brand on a variety of topics, including GMOs.
“We also recently joined more than 30 other food companies in announcing plans to adopt the new SmartLabel program, which we believe is part of a sensible alternative to a state-by-state labeling approach,” the company added.
What does the GMA say?
Both PepsiCo and Hormel deferred to the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) for comments related to Campbell’s announcement and what they will do moving forward.
The GMA and others had hoped that a last-minute provision would be added to the omnibus bill before Christmas supporting a federal voluntary GMO labeling structure as outlined by The Safe and Affordable Food Act (HR1599). Now that that plan has fallen through, it seems like there is no clear timeline for action on this front.
According to Politico, however, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is meeting stakeholders from pro- and anti-labeling camps today with a view to hammering out a solution.
When asked about how confident it is that a companion bill to HR 1599 will pass the senate, the GMA told us: “Congress must quickly pass a national food labeling solution that protects farmers and working families from the higher food prices that will result from a patchwork of state food labeling laws.”
Pressure is mounting on food companies as the July 1 deadline approaches to comply with a GMO labeling law in Vermont.