Washington DC — February 7, 2013 — What will you get for your loved one this Valentine’s Day? If genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in chocolates are not on your shopping list, you will want to know about GMO Inside’s new push to get the nation’s largest candy manufacturers—Hershey and Mars—to break up with GMOs in 2013.
GMO Inside, a campaign dedicated to advancing the right of consumers to know whether or not foods are genetically engineered, is calling on Hershey and Mars to either stop putting GMOs in Valentines candy and other products … or to start labeling the products as containing GMOs.
Hershey and Mars combined comprise nearly 70 percent of the U.S. chocolate market. The two companies are not shy about their love affair with GMOs; together they spent more than a million dollars to oppose GMO labeling in California in the November 2012 election. Hershey is reported to have spent $518,900 to defeat Prop 37 and Mars spent $498,350.
The reason these companies oppose GMO labeling so strongly is due to the fact that GMO ingredients are in their sweets; a label would surely make a consumer think twice about eating their favorite candy bar.
For example, these popular candies contain the following GMO-risk ingredients:
Reese’s Peanut Butter filled Hearts (Hershey) contain sugar, soy lecithin, and cornstarch
Hershey Hugs contain sugar, soy lecithin and corn syrup solids
Valentine’s Colored M&M’s (Mars) contain sugar, soy lecithin, cornstarch, and corn syrup
Valentine’s Snickers (Mars) contain soy lecithin, corn syrup, sugar, and partially hydrogenated soybean oil
GMO Inside also released a “Valentine’s Day Villains” shopping guide for consumers who want to avoid GMOs treats for their Valentines. Go to www.GMOinside.org to get a list of candies to watch out for and also some non-GMO alternatives for you loved one
Genetically modified organisms have never been proven safe for consumption, and a growing body of studies is raising concerns around the health effects of eating them. GMOs are also increasing the use of toxic herbicides and causing harm to farmers in the US and abroad.
In Europe, where genetically modified ingredients are already required to be labeled, Hershey and Mars have adapted their recipes to formulate Kisses and M&Ms without GMOs. According to Confectionary News, Hershey products made for distribution in Europe will be formulated without GMO ingredients, in order to meet the requirements of major retailers which ban the sale of products with genetically modified ingredients and to satisfy increasing consumer concern about the safety of GMOs.
“Unless you can buy Hershey or Mars products in Europe, there is a high chance you could be giving your Valentine a treat with GMOs that endanger their health and the environment,” said GMO Inside Campaign Director Elizabeth O’Connell, “To be safe, you should choose organic certified or Non-GMO Project Verified chocolate to show the loved ones in your life you really care.”
Beyond the issue of GMOs, Hershey also has problems with child labor in the cocoa it sources. Though the company committed to certify its supply chain as 100 percent sustainable in October of 2012, there has been no further information about how the company plans to deliver on its promise to remove forced child labor from its supply chain over the next seven years.
“Consumers have a choice — there is delicious chocolate from companies that are organic or verified through the Non-GMO Project, said Alisa Gravitz, president of Green America. “And you can make it doubly sweet by also looking for fair trade options. You’ll be showing your sweetheart you care in every way. Refuse to buy GMO-laden chocolate this Valentine’s Day.”
Consumers interested in speaking out to Hershey and Mars can sign an online petition atGMOinside.org. Consumers interested in non-GMO chocolate choices can use GMO Inside’s Valentine’s Day Villains shopping guide.
There will also be various actions on Facebook over the next week so be sure to friend GMO Inside on Facebook to follow along – https://www.facebook.com/GmoInside.
ABOUT GMO INSIDE
GMO Inside is a coalition of businesses and organizations that support a healthy, GMO-free food system. The GMO Inside steering committee is made up of the following organizations and individuals and convened by Green America:
- Food Democracy Now! is a grassroots community dedicated to building a sustainable food system that protects our natural environment, sustains farmers and nourishes families. Food Democracy Now! members know we can build a food system that gives our communities equal access to healthy food, and respects the dignity of the farmers who produce it. We believe in recreating regional food systems, supporting the growth of humane, natural and organic farms, and protecting the environment.
- GMO Free USA works to harness education, advocacy, and bold action to foster consumer rejection of genetically modified organisms, until they are proven safe. They support the labeling of GMO foods with the ultimate goal of getting GMOs out of the food supply and environment. Their current campaign focuses on engaging Kellogg’s to get GMOs out of their entire product line
- Green America is the nation’s leading green economy organization. Founded in 1982, Green America (formerly Co-op America) provides the economic strategies, organizing power and practical tools for businesses, investors, and individuals to solve today’s social and environmental problems. www.GreenAmerica.org
- Institute for Responsible Technology (IRT) is a world leader in educating policy makers and the public about the documented risks of GM foods and crops, as well as the problems associated with current research, regulation, corporate practices, and reporting. IRT’s founder, Jeffrey M. Smith, is an international bestselling author, filmmaker, and the leading spokesperson on the health dangers of GMOs. He documents how the world’s most powerful Ag biotech companies bluff and mislead critics, and put the health of society at risk.
- Nutiva® is dedicated to a healthy and sustainable world, demonstrating its mission to nourish people and planet by using delicious organic ingredients, enriching the soil, and donating 1 percent of sales to sustainable-agriculture groups. Founded in 1999, Nutiva is the world’s best-selling brand of nutritious organic hemp foods, extra-virgin coconut oil, and chia seeds. Fifteen thousand retailers in the United States, Canada, and the European Union offer Nutivaproducts, including Whole Foods, Sprouts, Vitamin Shoppe, GNC, Publix, Safeway, Loblaws, and Amazon.com. Nutiva is located in Richmond, California. For more information, visit www.nutiva.com.
- Vani Hari is a management consultant, food activist writer and a two time elected North Carolina delegate, endorsed by President Obama. Vani started foodbabe.com in April 2011 to spread information about what is really in the American food supply. She teaches people how to make the right purchasing decisions at the grocery store, how to live an organic lifestyle, and how to travel healthfully around the world. The success in her writing and investigative work can be seen in the way food companies react to her uncanny ability to find and expose the truth. She been featured in the Washington Times, NY Times, Lawyers Weekly, Prevention.com, NBC – WCNC, ABC – WLOS, and profiled in Charlotte Observer.