Dannon, the largest yogurt maker in the U.S., announced on Wednesday the launch of a three-tiered transparency and sustainability initiative, including the use of non-GMO ingredients and GMO labeling in its flagship brands Dannon, Oikos, and Danimals®, joining a growing list of major food companies shifting to more transparency over genetically modified ingredients.
In a statement, Dannon said the Dannon Pledge would use “fewer and more natural ingredients that are not synthetic and non-GMO." The company set a three-year timeframe for transition to non-GMO practices and will begin labeling GMOs on all products by December 2017 to comply with the GMO labeling law set to go into effect in Vermont this summer.
“We created a new way to work with dairy farmers to improve our shared sustainability priorities,” said Mariano Lozano, President and CEO of The Dannon Company. “Our ambition is to produce healthy food that is affordable, creates economic and social value and nurtures natural ecosystems through sustainable agriculture. Although our journey is independent from that of our organic sister companies, we have learned a lot from and are inspired by Stonyfield and Happy Family.”
According to Dannon, by July 2016, the company will move to “more natural ingredients which do not contain genetically modified ingredients,” and Dannon will work with its farmer partners “to ensure that the cows that supply Dannon’s milk for these flagship products will be fed non-GMO feed,” a first for a non-organic yogurt producer of this size.
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“Consumers simply want to be trusted to make their own decisions and don’t want to have to wait on hold or fumble with mobile phones to know what’s in their food,” Gary Hirshberg, founder of Stonyfield Yogurt and the Just Label It campaign, said in a statement. “JLI applauds Dannon for their leadership and we urge Congress to act quickly to require a national, mandatory GMO label that will allow consumers to know what’s in their food at a glance. Adding a few words or a symbol to the label will not increase food prices, as labeling opponents contend. It’s time for Congress to give American consumers the same factual information as consumers in 64 other nations."
Dannon’s pledge also includes commitments to improve soil health, better water management, increase biodiversity, and decrease carbon emissions.
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