Del Monte Foods made a groundbreaking announcement on Tuesday that both genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and Bisphenol A (BPA) would no longer be part of its products.
The move away from BPA will begin with fruit and tomato products, and nearly all of Del Monte’s products are expected to be BPA-free by May.
The company has also announced that by 2016, all of the ingredients in 154 of its products – including sweeteners and additives – will come from non-GMO sources.
“The fruit, vegetables and tomatoes we use in our products have always been Non-GMO, but some of our added ingredients for sweeteners or flavorings have been sourced from genetically modified crops like corn or soybeans,” the Del Monte website reads. This will no longer be the case for a large majority of its products.
Del Monte was one of several companies to join the anti-labeling coalition to defeat state led measures like the failed 2012 California Prop. 37. Campbell’s and Kellogg’s are amongst the other companies that have since opted to either label or remove GMOs from their products after supporting anti-labeling measures.
In 2013, Del Monte developed Rosé, a GMO pineapple with red flesh, set to be approved for sale in the U.S. at that time. It is not yet clear whether the pineapple will still be sold, given Del Monte’s new stance.
This is the culmination of a process that began in 2015, when Del Monte began verifying non-GMO ingredients and sourcing replacements as needed. Currently, the Del Monte line already includes 70 non-GMO products as a result of these efforts.
“These moves, which represent a majority of the company’s products, come as a direct response and commitment towards meeting the evolving preferences of many consumers,” Del Monte’s press release stated.
Both of these announcements are the latest in Del Monte’s Quality Journey, an initiative of changes, innovations, and sustainability programs.
This announcement was made the same week as the release of a BPA report showing that 71 percent of Del Monte cans contained the chemical linked to endocrine disruption and health risk. One hundred percent of Campbell’s cans were shown to contain the chemical; the soup giant announced Monday that it would be removing BPA from its can linings by 2017.
But this transition cannot — and should not — be rushed.
“It has taken a long time for most companies to respond to such consumer demands,” Jane Muncke, MD, Food Packaging Forum, Zurich told FoodQualityNews. “But BPA-replacements should be carefully chosen as to not end up with new chemicals of concern.”
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