Laguna Niguel, CA — General Mills, Inc. Chairman and CEO Kendall Powell told an audience at the Brainstorm Green Conference that GMO-labeling — which 20 states are currently considering implementing — could be costly for consumers and suppliers.
“If [consumers] want to know the nutrition information of the product, if there are peanuts in there, that’s a safety thing. They need to know those things. But we should restrict the use of the label for that important information, and limit it to that,” he said. “Requiring a label on all products that contain GMOs would involve every product in the grocery store, and I don't think that's justified by safety because the ingredients are safe.”
Powell’s comments coincided with the introduction of the Genetically Engineered Food Right-To-Know Act by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR). The bill, which has bipartisan support from nine co-sponsors in the Senate and 22 in the House, would require food manufacturers to clearly label any product containing GMOs.
“We especially don't think we should do it on a state-by-state basis, which was the concern the industry had, for instance, in California,” he continued. “We worry if we start to have one rule here and another rule elsewhere, the industry will have to chop up its supply chain and do different things in different places, and that's simply going to add cost for consumer for products that we believe are completely safe.”
In November 2012, General Mills, Monsanto Co., The Hershey Co., and other suppliers raised $44 million to defeat Proposition 37, which would have mandated labeling of genetically engineered food products sold in California.
Noting that research by the World Health Organization, the Enviromental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Health Canada have found no danger to health from genetically engineered foods, Powell emphasized the importance of GMO foods in ending world hunger.