The majority of participating shareholders — 97.8 percent — at General Mills’ annual shareholder meeting Tuesday rejected a proposal to ban genetically modified organisms from all of its brands, according to the LA Times.
Earlier this year the company removed genetically modified ingredients from its well-known cereal brand Cheerios and also agreed to an $820 million deal for Annie’s Homegrown, the California-based maker of natural and organic pastas, meals and snacks.
The push to remove all bioengineered ingredients at the company originated from shareholder Harriett Crosby, the great-granddaughter of the company’s co-founder. Crosby argued that GMOs harm the company’s brand and reputation and pose a risk to public health.
Crosby was countered by the National Center for Public Policy Research, which urged General Mills shareholders to reject Crosby’s proposal.
The company says it has studied the research on GMOs and is convinced they are safe, adding that consumers who want to avoid GMOs have the choice to buy organic, and consumer choice is what will ultimately drive company decisions.
In addition, earlier this month it confirmed it will not source vanilla flavor produced through synthetic biology for Häagen-Dazs ice cream, which it produces outside of North America. Although synthetic biology could reduce land impact by producing products in labs rather than in farm fields, advocacy groups are concerned that synthetic biology could ultimately speed the destruction of bio-diverse areas.
Photo Credit: Cheerios by Tyler McKay/Shutterstock.com