The report, Non-GMO Foods: Global Market Perspective, says European consumers have rejected foods made using ingredients with genetically modified organisms, forcing international food companies such as Unilever, Nestlé and Coca-Cola to introduce or begin to develop non-GMO versions of their products. These international food and beverage manufacturers are eager to please French, Italian and other European consumers, the report says.
The non-GMO movement has grown in the US as well. The US-based Non-GMO Project, which offers independent verification for products, has hired NSF International as a technical administrator to handle the growing demand for third-party verified products. NSF International, which will join the organization in 2014, is conducting beta tests on its Non-GMO Project quality system and infrastructure.
At least 60 countries have adopted some type of labeling that notifies consumers there is a percentage of GMO ingredients present in a product. Around 130 countries have no labeling regulations, the report says.
Despite growing demand for non-GMO products, many of these same companies and other food industry giants such as PepsiCo and General Mills have contributed millions of dollars either directly or through the Grocery Manufacturers Association trade organization to ongoing campaigns in the US to prevent mandatory labeling of foods with GMO ingredients, the report says.
Environmentalist and shareholder advocacy groups filed resolutions this fall urging Monsanto, DuPont de Nemours and Dow Chemical to stop using corporate funds to fight the Initiative 522 referendum in Washington that would have required special labels on raw and processed foods made from genetically modified crops. Opponents donated $22 million to defeat the initiative, with only $550 of that coming from state residents, reported the Seattle Times. The majority of donations came from the Grocery Manufacturers Association, Monsanto, DuPont Pioneer and Bayer CropScience, according to the Seattle Times.
The initiative, which was on the Nov. 5 general election ballot, was rejected by voters. If it had passed, it would have made Washington the first state to require labeling of genetically engineered foods.
Photo Credit: Protest in Poland image via Tomasz Bidermann/Shutterstock