General Mills, one of the nation’s largest food companies, recently released its 2014 Global Responsibility report in which it affirmed biotechnology as key to addressing feeding a growing population. This may seem in direct contradiction to the company’s decision earlier this year to label one of its best known cereals—Cheerios—as GMO free. Cheerios experienced increased costs and no bump in sales after they surrendered to an unrelenting and vicious social media attack to force the product change.
IL Corn is closely monitoring state and national efforts in regard to GMO labeling. We’re aware that it’s frustrating to corn farmers to see such baseless accusations being made against your family’s farming choices and subsequent crop. Unfortunately, the dye has been cast with regard to public opinion on this issue, with the anti-GMO crowd being firmly entrenched in their position and expecting others to comply with the same.
But what are farmers or food companies like General Mills to do when consumers don’t then put their money where their mouths are?
The Farmer’s Daughter USA blog points out, the “GMO-free cereal was actually less healthy than the prior recipe -- apparently the company had to cut out some added vitamins from the ingredient list to keep that label.”
Vermont’s recent vote to require food to carry a label denoting GMO ingredients just muddies the waters.
So what can you do at the farm level? Be prepared to answer questions about your decisions to use biotechnology. How does it benefit you? How does it benefit your customers, in this case, the average consumer? You are your own best PR representative.
For help on understanding the most common questions about GMOs and biotechnology and how you might consider answering them, take a look at www.gmoanswers.com