CAMDEN, N.J. – Campbell Soup Co. on Jan. 7 said it supports enacting federal legislation to establish a single mandatory labeling standard for foods derived from bioengineered/genetically modified organisms (G.M.O.s).
“Campbell believes it is necessary for the federal government to provide a national standard for labeling requirements to better inform consumers about this issue,” the Camden-based company said. “The company will advocate for federal legislation that would require all foods and beverages regulated by the Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to be clearly and simply labeled for G.M.O.s.”
Campell said it also supports a national standard for non-G.M.O. claims.
“As a result of its decision to support mandatory national G.M.O. labeling, Campbell will withdraw from all efforts led by the coalitions and groups opposing such measures,” Campbell Soup said. “The company continues to oppose a patchwork of state-by-state labeling laws, which it believes are incomplete, impractical and create unnecessary confusion for consumers.”
The state of Vermont’s mandatory G.M.O. labeling law is scheduled to take effect in July. To show how it plans to comply with Vermont’s law, Campbell gave an example of a SpaghettiOs can. The G.M.O. labeling is found below the ingredients list. It reads: “partially produced with genetic engineering.”
Campbell said if a federal solution is not reached within a reasonable amount of time, it is prepared to label all of its products – and not just products destined for Vermont – for the presence of ingredients that were derived from bioengineering/genetically modified products. Campbell would seek guidance from the F.D.A. and approval from the U.S.D.A.
“Campbell continues to recognize that G.M.O.s are safe as the science indicates that foods derived from crops grown using genetically modified seeds are not nutritionally different from other foods,” the company said. “The company also believes technology will play a crucial role in feeding the world.”
The Grocery Manufacturers Association, Washington, agrees bioengineered ingredients are safe and that mandatory G.M.O. labeling therefore is not needed, especially on a state-by-state basis. Pamela G. Bailey, president and chief executive officer of the G.M.A., addressed the issue on Dec. 16, 2015.“It is unfortunate that Congress has failed to take action this year to stop a patchwork of costly and misleading state labeling mandates, an issue of tremendous importance to consumers, farmers, food and beverage companies,” she said. “In January, food manufacturers will face exponentially increasing costs totaling hundreds of millions of dollars to comply with Vermont’s G.M.O. labeling mandate.”