KANSAS CITY, Mo. (NAFB) — On Monday, a group of farm organizations sent a letter to officials at Dannon saying the companies pledge to be more sustainable is actually anything but.
In April, Dannon announced a pledge to use fewer genetically modified ingredients, a goal that includes the feed given to milk producing cows. The Dannon Pledge also vowed to label GMOs in its products by December 2017and the ambition to offer products coming from a more sustainable agriculture.
But six groups representing ag producers don’t see this as a sustainable goal at all. In the letter to Dannon Company President and CEO Mariano Lozano, the groups say this pledge would force farmers to abandon safe and scientifically backed framing practices.
Chris Galen with the National Milk Producers Federation says concerns about the impacts of GMO feed in the dairy supply are unfounded. “There is no such thing as genetically modified milk just because a cow may consume corn or soybeans. That has actually been very clear in the science. The recent legislation signed into law by the President actually clarifies that you don’t have biotech milk just because you have GMO grains that go into the cattle.”
Galen says that pledges like Dannon’s are misleading to consumers. “It’s time that those of us in agriculture who believe in sustainability, and who believe in natural resources call up those companies that are trying to convince consumers and really deceive consumers into believing that you can eliminate GMOs and produce a more sustainable food product.”
In addition to the Milk Producers, the American Farm Bureau Federation, American Soybean Association, American Sugarbeet Growers Association, National Corn Growers Association and U.S. Farmers and Ranchers alliance also signed the letter. “We’re concerned about this because Dannon is a dairy company. You know soybean, sugar, corn, as well as farm bureau and the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance, we’re all partnering on this because we think this is bigger than just one dairy company. You’re going to see more companies wrap themselves around this non-GMO sustainability mantle if we don’t do some things to set the record straight and really challenge the marketing claims.”
In addition to the letter to Dannon, Galen says the groups are looking at ways to fact check other sustainability claims made by food companies.