Update from General Mills’ shareholder meeting: A long way to go.
“GMOs are safe and poised to feed the world,” shared General Mills’ CEO Ken Powell at the company’s annual shareholder meeting this morning in Minneapolis. We hope that Mr. Powell is be prepared to eat his words soon.
The executive’s tune has not changed over the past few months in spite of growing consumer concern about GMOs, not only related to health impacts but also due to the fact that GM crops have failed to deliver higher yields have in many cases required more pesticides than conventional farming. Additionally, rather than feeding the world’s hungry GM farming has led to poorer condition for farmers in the US and abroad.
This morning, Green America’s campaigns director Liz O’Connell and Paula Luxenberg (former Green America staff member) represented Green America and GMO Insiders at General Mills’ annual meeting for stockholders.
Harriett Crosby of As You Sow was also in the crowd to voice shareholder concerns about GMOs We asked questions to the board regarding GMO labeling and the company’s increasing reputational risk by ignoring consumer concerns about GMOs.
Roughly 85% of shareholders, representing 543 million shares, sent in proxies to General Mills to vote on the company’s 2014 resolutions. Two questions were asked relating to GMOs and Powell had artfully crafted answers on-hand to confuse the audience and demonstrate General Mills’ false commitment to consumer choice and safety.
Based on the presentation made this morning and the answers given by executives, its clear General Mills is no better than the worst in the industry when it comes to labeling GMOs and phasing them out of the food supply.
The company sites short-term, non-independent studies to prove the safety of GMOs, in spite of the fact that there is a growing body of scientific research that points otherwise and that some countries such as Austria, Hungary, Greece, Bulgaria, Luxembourg, Bolivia, and New Zealand have flat out banned the cultivation and sale GMOs. When it comes to labeling, General Mills said they strongly support a national labeling initiative that would allow non-GM products to voluntarily adapt labels showing they are so. (This also passes the hassle of adopting a labeling system on to farmers and companies who are making “real” apples, corn etc., while still not providing consumers with the knowledge of what products DO contain GMOs.)
GMO Inside began targeting General Mills in late 2012, calling for an elimination of GMOs in time and labeling of GMOs in the meantime. Based on the statements shared this morning its clear we could not have picked a more worthy target.
Now, with the support of GMO Insiders, we will up the pressure. The time for non-GMO Cheerios is now!