Bioneers held a webinar in February, hosted by Arty Mangan, on new fronts in the war against GMOs. As Arty pointed out, it is against the law for new medical products to be tested on us without our permission, but there is no similar law for the food industry. The featured speaker was John Roulec, founder and CEO of Nutiva, who has co-founded and co-chairs GMO Inside, an organization formed to educate consumers about genetically engineered ingredients. GMO Inside has been extremely successful mobilizing individuals to make their voices heard by big companies via social media and petitions.
“The problem with legislating bans,” says Roulec, “is that you need 51% of the voters to turn out and support it. However with consumer advocacy, 10% of buying consumers can have a huge impact by voting with their dollars.” GMO Inside began a campaign against General Mills that resulted in GMO-free Cheerios. Sales of the popular cereal dropped 3-4% during the campaign, getting GMs attention. The next target was Hershey’s kisses. After GMO Inside targeted Hershey with a campaign, the company agreed to stop using GMO sugar beets in its chocolate and switch to non-GMO sugar cane. Hershey also agreed to use milk in its chocolate that contains no growth hormones. Roulec reports that GMO Inside has begun a campaign against “Monsanto lattes” at Starbucks.
In fact, many of the campaigns are focusing now on dairy products, since most GMO products are fed to livestock and not to people. GMO Inside went after Chobani, causing Whole Foods to drop them as a product on its shelves. Chobani did a complete turnaround and is now participating in a working group with representatives from Stonyfield Farms and Ben & Jerry’s to create a supply chain of non-GMO feed for livestock so that the dairy products will be safe. Other companies in GMO Inside’s sites include Sabra (owned by Pepsi) and its GMO-ladened hummus products, and Land O’Lakes, the creator of GMO alfalfa.
GMO Inside is also campaigning against Big Food’s “Dark Act,” a bill introduced last year by Republican Representative Mike Pompeo of Kansas, which would block any federal or state action to required labeling of foods made with genetically engineered ingredients.
We applaud John Roulec and GMO Inside for their effective war on GMOs. More info at http://gmoinside.org/.