A major yogurt producer, Danone, says it is moving towards non-GMO products. The move is getting backlash from American suppliers.

A major yogurt producer, Danone, says it is moving towards non-GMO products. The move is getting backlash from American suppliers.
Photo Credit: Danone Canada

Major food company going non-GMO

The Danone yogurt company of France, including it’s US subsidiary Dannon, announced it is moving toward reducing and eliminating genetically modified ingredients in its products in a three year programme.

About the same time Dannon released its first non-GMO products  this summer, it also bought the WhiteWave company which produces a very successful soy milk, along with a range of organic foods including milk, yogurt, and salads. Although the purchase was not directly related to the non-GMO programme, it will help push the move.

Dannon USA Chief Executive Officer Mariano Lozano also said it will begin labelling its products that still contain GMO’s while moving forward on the plan to eliminate as many GMO’s from its product line as possible, but especially in its three leading brands, Dannon, Oikos, and Danimals.

To do this, Dannon has begun working to to ensure that cows supplying milk will get non-GM feed.  This will require conversion of about 32,000 hectares (80,000 acres) of land to non-GM grain to feed some 45,000 cows.

According to CBAN, in 2014 the US had 40.3 % of total crop area growing GM crops. Canada ranked fifth in the world in terms of GM acreage with 97 % of canola. Ontario is Canada’s largest corn producer and about 80 percent is GM.

According to CBAN, in 2014 the US had 40.3 % of total crop area growing GM crops. Canada ranked fifth in the world in terms of GM acreage. Some 97% of canola is GM. Ontario is Canada’s largest corn producer and about 80 percent is GM. © Seth Perlman/Associated Press

Canada reaction

The world’s leading processor of pulse products, AGT Foods and Ingredients, says the  anti-GMO movement has been benefitting that industry.   Murad Al-Katib, president of AGT says of the movement, ““That’s the global trend and that’s the trend that we sell into because pulses are non-GM, so it’s a big opportunity”.

Backlash from US producers

However, that plan is now getting some backlash from American food producers.

A coalition of producers including ranchers, sugar beet, soybean, corn, and dairy farmers claims Danone’s marketing  as “sustainable agriculture” is misleading.  Most of these crops in the US and Canada have been genetically engineered to resist insects and or pesticide use.The group says GMO’s are safe and enable more sustainable farming practices, through such things reduced pesticide and water use adding that Dannon’s plan is a “step backward in truly sustainable food production”.

The coalition sent an angry letter to Dannon saying in part, “We are writing to express our deep concern and great dismay with your company’s attack on the livelihood and integrity of our farmers”.

Randy Mooney is a dairy farmer in Missouri and chairman of the National Milk Producers Federation one of the coalition signing the letter said, “This is just marketing puffery, not any true innovation that improves the actual product offered to consumers”.

Oct 2013- harvesting chickpeas, a pulse crop, near Assiniboia, Saskatchewan. The largest Canadian processor of pulses says the Dannon move to non-GMO is part of a growing movement and good for his industry

Oct 2013- harvesting chickpeas, a pulse crop, near Assiniboia, Saskatchewan. The largest Canadian processor of pulses says the Dannon move to non-GMO is part of a growing movement and good for his industry © Courtesy Paul Dornstauder via CBC

Dannon responds

Dannon responded in a press statement saying it was “surprised to receive a divisive and misinformed letter” about their efforts, adding that it believes currently approved GMO’s to be safe.  The response by the company says there is consumer demand for non-GMO products and that it wants to fill the consumer demand.

It also says, “We believe the changes in sustainable agricultural practices we are seeking can lead to a reduction of the usage (quantity and quality) of herbicides and pesticides.  Careful management of the use of pesticides and herbicides has a major role to play to achieve our goal”.

Additional information- sources

Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Animals, Economy, Environment, Health, International, Lifestyle, Science and Technology, Society

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

@*@ Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet netiquette guidelines.

Netiquette »

When you express your personal opinion in an online forum, you must be as courteous as if you were speaking with someone face-to-face. Insults and personal attacks will not be tolerated. To disagree with an opinion, an idea or an event is one thing, but to show disrespect for other people is quite another. Great minds don’t always think alike—and that’s precisely what makes online dialogue so interesting and valuable.

Netiquette is the set of rules of conduct governing how you should behave when communicating via the Internet. Before you post a message to a blog or forum, it’s important to read and understand these rules. Otherwise, you may be banned from posting.

  1. RCInet.ca’s online forums are not anonymous. Users must register, and give their full name and place of residence, which are displayed alongside each of their comments. RCInet.ca reserves the right not to publish comments if there is any doubt as to the identity of their author.
  2. Assuming the identity of another person with intent to mislead or cause harm is a serious infraction that may result in the offender being banned.
  3. RCInet.ca’s online forums are open to everyone, without regard to age, ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
  4. Comments that are defamatory, hateful, racist, xenophobic, sexist, or that disparage an ethnic origin, religious affiliation or age group will not be published.
  5. In online speak, writing in ALL CAPS is considered yelling, and may be interpreted as aggressive behaviour, which is unpleasant for the people reading. Any message containing one or more words in all caps (except for initialisms and acronyms) will be rejected, as will any message containing one or more words in bold, italic or underlined characters.
  6. Use of vulgar, obscene or objectionable language is prohibited. Forums are public places and your comments could offend some users. People who use inappropriate language will be banned.
  7. Mutual respect is essential among users. Insulting, threatening or harassing another user is prohibited. You can express your disagreement with an idea without attacking anyone.
  8. Exchanging arguments and opposing views is a key component of healthy debate, but it should not turn into a dialogue or private discussion between two users who address each other without regard for the other participants. Messages of this type will not be posted.
  9. Radio Canada International publishes contents in five languages. The language used in the forums has to be the same as the contents we publish. The usage of other languages, with the exception of some words, is forbidden. Messages that are off-topic will not be published.
  10. Making repetitive posts disrupts the flow of discussions and will not be tolerated.
  11. Adding images or any other type of file to comments is forbidden. Including hyperlinks to other websites is allowed, as long as they comply with netiquette. Radio Canada International  is in no way responsible for the content of such sites, however.
  12. Copying and pasting text written by someone else, even if you credit the author, is unacceptable if that text makes up the majority of your comment.
  13. Posting any type of advertising or call to action, in any form, to Radio Canada International  forums is prohibited.
  14. All comments and other types of content are moderated before publication. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to refuse any comment for publication.
  15. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to close a forum at any time, without notice.
  16. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to amend this code of conduct (netiquette) at any time, without notice.
  17. By participating in its online forums, you allow Radio Canada International to publish your comments on the web for an indefinite time. This also implies that these messages will be indexed by Internet search engines.
  18. Radio Canada International has no obligation to remove your messages from the web if one day you request it. We invite you to carefully consider your comments and the consequences of their posting.

*