As we continue this discussion "to label or not to label" let's remember, that being opportunistic without real substance does nothing to reinforce confidence in our food supply.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock recently you’ve heard that a major American brand has announced they are “GMO free!” General Mills will soon be labeling all Cheerio boxes “Not made with Genetically Modified Ingredients”. What does this mean? Do we care? Should we care? Clearly both sides of the labeling issue see this move as having a huge impact for the brand. Some marketing pundits have called out the company as being both a trailblazer and an opportunist. Here’s the thing, the major ingredient in Cheerios, oats, are not GMO to begin with. So are consumers to feel misled?
For us at The Lempert Report this move underscores the reason to NOT label GMOs without both full disclosure and a much more stringent requirement. The point must be made that most consumers who want labeling clearly indicate that it’s the major ingredient in a particular recipe they want to know more about. In this case, sugar, corn and wheat starch are the possible GMO ingredients to be changed. In addition, when I showed the ingredient listing to two consumers recently, frankly, they said they were more concerned about an ingredient they were not familiar with - tricalcium phosphate - than they were about GMOs. Also, they were shocked to discover that there are no oat GMOs’. In my very unscientific research of just two people, I was told they felt mislead by one of America's best loved and most iconic brands. It seems almost as if the company is cashing in on the modern consumers desire for transparent nutritional labeling.
As we continue this discussion "to label or not to label" let's remember, that being opportunistic without real substance does nothing to reinforce confidence in our food supply. What’s next? Putting "gluten free" stickers on fresh fruit?