Free Market Win! (Campbell’s)

Campbell Soup Co. is pulling out of the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA).

 

The GMA refuses to clearly label products containing GMOs, and Campbell’s is taking the side of consumers: “We have always believed that consumers have the right to know what’s in their food.”

 

This is a big deal!

 

The GMA is a trade association that represents large food industry corporations.  They have a huge influence over which food products appear on your grocery store shelves.  The GMA helped pass the DARK Act (Denying Americans the Right to Know Act) in 2016, which gave the federal government authority to impose a national GMO labeling law.

 

As I discuss in Hands Off My Food!, I strongly opposed this law because it usurps state’s rights and is full of loopholes.  In the end, the bill that Obama signed into law will leave us more in the dark than ever before.

 

The spokesman for GMA credited the organization for the passage of that deceptive bill stating, “It was GMA’s leadership that helped [the bill] achieve passage in 2016.” And, now the GMA is trying to save-face with their newly developed SmartLabel.  Instead of simply labeling a product as containing GMO ingredients, under the GMA’s “Modern-Day Label,” consumers have to put on their detective hats.

 

While standing in the grocery store aisle, you will have to scan a QR code (IF you have a smart phone) and then search the database, call a 1-800 number, conduct a web search, or utilize an app on your phone in order to determine if the product you want to eat contains GMOs.  Imagine jumping through those hoops while shopping with young children!

 

While Campbell Soup Co. also supported the DARK Act, the company does not support the lack of transparency by the GMA or their disregard for what consumer’s are demanding.  Because Campbell’s desire to be a “purpose-driven company” is in direct opposition to the principles espoused by the GMA, Campbell Soup Co. will leave the GMA by the end of the year.

 

“As we continue to evolve as a purpose-driven company, many of our beliefs have diverged from the rest of the food industry and from our trade association…To that end, we have decided to withdraw from the Grocery Manufacturers Association at the end of this calendar year.”

 

Even though I do not agree with Campbell’s continued use of GMO ingredients and their unfettered stance that GMOs have been adequately safety tested by the FDA, I applaud their decision to listen to consumers.

 

“We are operating with a ‘Consumer First’ mindset.  We put the consumer at the center of everything we do…GMO has evolved to be a top consumer food issue reaching critical mass of 92% of consumers in favor of putting it on the label.  In addition we have declared our intention to set the standard for transparency in the food industry.”

 

In an effort to make good on that claim, Campbell Soup Co. created a website that lists the ingredients in their products, where they are sourced, what they are used for, and which are likely GMO.  They also removed artificial colors and flavors from their products.   To provide non-GMO alternatives for consumers who want to eat Campbell’s soup but not the GMOs, Campbell’s developed an organic product line that includes: Campbell’s Organic soups, Campbell’s Organic soups for kids, and Swanson Certified Organic Chicken and Vegetable broth.

 

What’s next?

 

“Campbell is committed to printing clear and simple language on the labels of our U.S. products which use ingredients derived from genetically modified crops…we will introduce an on-pack statement as we know that’s what the overwhelming majority of Americans support.”

 

Score one for the consumers!

 

Sources:

1.http://www.gmaonline.org/issues-policy/health-nutrition/smartlabeltm-consumer-information-transparency-initiative/

2. https://www.ceoupdate.com/articles/ceo-dateline-–-campbell-soup-leave-grocery-manufacturers-association 

3. http://www.politico.com/tipsheets/morning-agriculture/2017/07/21/campbell-leaves-gma-221465 

4. https://www.campbellsoupcompany.com/newsroom/news/2016/01/07/labeling/ 

5. http://www.whatsinmyfood.com/stand-issues-matter/gmo/     

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