Immediately upon finishing Seeds of Deception, I couldn’t look at food without thinking about what poisons it might contain. I went to make a tuna sandwich and as I pulled the mayonnaise (in this case Hellmann’s) from the refrigeration, I paused. I know there is oil in mayonnaise; looking at the ingredients, I see Soybean Oil as the first ingredient. Soybeans are the biggest genetically engineered crop in the United States, about 85% of all soybeans planted (according to the Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology), and is often mixed with the remaining 15% natural soy.
So, I sat down at the computer and googled “does Hellmann’s use GMOs.” To their credit Unilever, parent company of Hellmann’s, does address this on their website. Here’s their policy:
We support the responsible use of biotechnology within the framework of effective regulatory control and provision of information about its use. The use of this technology to improve food crops can bring important benefits to mankind and individual applications should be judged on their merits.
We acknowledge that the public’s view of biotechnology, such as the use of GM ingredients in foods, is still evolving and that the debate and public acceptance are at different stages in different regions of the world.
Our companies are free to use ingredients derived from genetically modified crops that have been approved by the regulatory authorities and which meet our own standards for quality and acceptability.
The decision whether or not such ingredients will be used is made at local or regional level, taking into account public perception, national legislation, availability and costs of alternatives, and attitudes of our customers, including the retail trade.
This is not good enough. The only option left to customers who don’t want to consume products containing GMOs is to NOT use Unilever products. Here’s a list of their food brands:
- Country Crook/Blue Brand/Rama
I wrote a letter to Unilever to let them know that I’ve stopped buying their products. It’s not enough to just stop, they need to hear from us about why. I urge you to do the same.
February 13, 2011
Mr. Paul Polman
100 Victoria Embankment
London EC4Y 0DY
Dear Mr. Polman,
I believe the public has a right to choose whether or not they consume processed foods that include GMOs and that all food companies should be required to label their products as such. Being that the U.S. government is so tightly enmeshed with the biotech industry this is legislation that is not likely to happen soon. Therefore, it is left to individuals to reach out to food manufacturers regarding GMO use.
I visited your website to find out whether your Hellmann’s mayonnaise includes GMOs, and read the following statement:
“Our companies are free to use ingredients derived from GM crops that have been approved by the regulatory authorities and which meet our own standards for quality and acceptability.”
There are no regulatory standards for GMOs in the United States. The FDA and USDA both rely exclusively on the biotech industry for safety testing and have decided that there is no need for regulation. Monsanto has been proven to falsify testing results and to even design their studies to produce the results they want. Whenever scientific studies on GMOs are conducted outside the biotech industry that show evidence that GMOs may not be safe or that more independent testing is necessary, Monsanto spends exorbitant amounts of money to suppress this information and to threaten and intimate those who believe genetically modified or engineered foods pose a threat to humans, animals, and the environment.
Your company’s policy to let
“the decision whether or not such ingredients will be used is made at [a] local or regional level, taking into account public perception, national legislation, availability and costs of alternatives, and attitudes of our customers, including the retail trade”
makes it very hard for the consumer to know which of your products contain GMOs. Therefore, our only option is to exclude all Unilever products from our pantries. There are other companies who have made the comment to Non-GM, such as Whole Foods’ 365 label. I will no longer use Hellmann’s or any other Unilever product and will encourage my family and friend to discontinue their use as well. As an industry leader, I urge Unilever to rethink their GMO policy or to, at the very least, require labeling of those products that do contain GMOs or are produced using GMO processing.
One Woman Against Monsanto
If I get a response I’ll share it.