Campbell's supports legislation establishing mandatory GMO labeling

NEW YORK -- Campbell Soup says it now supports mandatory national labeling for products containing genetically modified ingredients, and that it will stop backing efforts opposing such disclosures.

See Full Article

The change of heart by the maker of Pepperidge Farm cookies, Prego sauces and Spaghetti-Os marks a break from industry groups that have sought to make labeling voluntary.

About three-quarters of Campbell's products contain GMOs. The company has opposed a patchwork of state-by-state legislation that it believes would confuse customers.

States have tried to address the issue on their own and Vermont passed legislation requiring labeling of genetically modified ingredients on certain products by July. But industry groups want to pre-empt such efforts with federal legislation that would make disclosures voluntary, said Michele Simon, a public health lawyer.

"They're going for as little as they can," Simon said.

If a federal labeling standard isn't established in a "reasonable amount of time," Campbell says it will work independently to disclose the presence of GMOs in its products. The company did not specify a timeline for doing so.

Genetically modified seeds are engineered in laboratories to have certain traits, like resistance to herbicides. The majority of the country's corn and soybean crop is now genetically modified, with much of that going to animal feed. Corn and soybeans are also made into popular processed food ingredients like high-fructose corn syrup, corn starch and soybean oil.

The food industry says about 75 to 80 per cent of foods contain genetically modified ingredients. The Food and Drug Administration has said that GMOs are safe.

Still, the number of products stamped with a voluntary "non-GMO" label from a third-party group has proliferated as the issue has gained attention. The label, which is displayed on the front of packages, has become a marketing tool in some cases.

Campbell is also calling on the federal government to propose a national standard for "non-GMO" claims made on food packaging.

The company's disclosure of GMO ingredients likely wouldn't be as prominent as the "non-GMO" labels displayed on some products. An image provided by Campbell to illustrate compliance with the Vermont law showed the back of a Spaghetti-Os can with the words "Partially produced with genetic engineering" in small print at the bottom.

The change in position by Campbell comes amid dimming prospects for industry-backed legislation that would prevent states from requiring GMO labeling.

Last month, the industry made an aggressive push to add the federal legislation to a massive year-end spending bill in December, but failed to win enough support. That may have been its best bet before Vermont's law is enacted, although lawmakers say they will keep trying in the coming months.

Campbell Soup CEO Denise Morrison has been outspoken about the need for big food makers to adapt to changing tastes. The company, based in Camden, N.J., has been diversifying its packaged food lineup with offerings that are seen as fresher.

Its acquisitions in recent years include premium juice and carrot seller Bolthouse Farms and Plum Organics, which makes baby food.

In a message posted online by Campbell Friday, Morrison stressed that the company is in "no way disputing the science GMOs or their safety." But she said GMOs have become a top issue among consumers.

"We have always believed that consumers have the right to know what's in their food," Morrison wrote.

------

AP Writer Mary Clare Jalonick contributed from Washington.



Advertisements

Latest Economic News

  • Nintendo records quarterly profit on Switch sales success

    Economic CTV News
    TOKYO -- Japanese video-game maker Nintendo Co. has reversed into profit for the April-June quarter from losses the previous year, boosted by the popularity of its Switch hybrid game machine. Kyoto-based Nintendo reported Wednesday a profit of 21.26 billion yen ($190 million) for the fiscal first quarter, improving from a 24.5 billion yen loss for the three months through June 30 last year. Source
  • Tembec reports second-quarter profit up from year ago ahead of takeover vote

    Economic CTV News
    MONTREAL -- Tembec Inc.(TSX:TMB) says it earned $17 million in its latest quarter, up from $9 million in the same quarter a year ago. The forestry company says the profit for the quarter ended June 24 amounted to 17 cents per share compared with a profit of nine cents per share in the same period last year. Source
  • Yellow Pages CEO leaves company, CFO named interim CEO

    Economic CTV News
    MONTREAL - Yellow Pages Ltd. (TSX:Y) says chief executive Julien Billot has left the company. The company says the board has named chief financial officer Ken Taylor as interim chief executive and has started a search for a permanent successor. Source
  • Sri Lanka deploys army to distribute fuel during strike

    Economic CTV News
    COLOMBO, Sri Lanka -- Sri Lanka's government deployed army troops on Wednesday to restore fuel distribution crippled during a strike launched by trade unions who want to stop leases of oil tanks to India and China. Source
  • Loblaw expects higher minimum wage rules and Quebec changes will hurt profits

    Economic CTV News
    BRAMPTON, Ont. -- Loblaw Companies Ltd. (TSX:L) says minimum wage increases in Ontario and Alberta and health care reform in Quebec are expected to hurt its bottom line. The grocery and drug store operator says the minimum wage increases announced in Ontario and Alberta are expected to increase its labour expenses by about $190 million in 2018. Source
  • World shares mostly higher as markets await U.S. Fed's decision

    Economic CTV News
    HONG KONG -- World stock markets were mostly higher Wednesday, lifted by another record day on Wall Street and buoyant oil prices. Investors were keeping a cautious eye on the Fed's upcoming interest rate decision. Source
  • EU court says deal cannot be concluded as is; Canada passenger data sharing breaches privacy

    Economic CTV News
    BRUSSELS -- The European Union's top court says in an advisory opinion that a deal between the EU and Canada on sharing airline passenger data breaches citizens' privacy and cannot be concluded in its current form. Source
  • Oil jumps as U.S. producers pull back, inventories drop

    Economic CBC News
    In the three-year-long drama that is the oil market, there was some good news this week, with signs that both U.S. shale producers and OPEC may be exercising some discipline. The U.S. oil rig count dropped two of the past four weeks, Anadarko Petroleum announced in its earnings report that it is cutting back on spending for the rest of 2017, and oil services company Halliburton said for the second time in recent weeks that its customers were tapping the brakes. Source
  • Celgene Corp. to pay $280M to settle cancer drug fraud suit

    Economic CTV News
    LOS ANGELES -- Celgene Corp. has agreed to pay $280 million to settle a whistleblower lawsuit alleging the pharmaceutical company committed fraud promoting a drug with a notorious history that was re-purposed to treat leprosy and another therapy for unapproved cancer treatments, federal prosecutors announced Tuesday. Source
  • Trump weighs replacing Fed Chair Yellen with ex-Goldman exec

    Economic CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- U.S. President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he's considering either re-nominating Janet Yellen for a second term as Fed chair or replacing her with someone else, possibly Gary Cohn, who leads his National Economic Council. Source