General Mills Inc. has made strong commitments this year to natural and organic foods. It took genetically modified ingredients out of its signature cereal brand Cheerios and then doubled down on its organic lineup by striking an $820-million deal for Annie’s, a stalwart of the organic and natural foods industry.
But when the industrial food behemoth’s shareholders were presented with a proposal to dump all genetically modified ingredients from the company’s vast lineup of brands, they responded with a resounding “No.”
The rejection of the proposal also shows shareholders aren’t convinced it’s unsafe to consume genetically modified organisms, better known as GMOs, which are created in labs by altering plant genes. This is often done to resist disease and pests. Though there is no definitive science showing such plants are harmful to human health, it has become one of the most contentious issues in modern food policy. Critics say the effect of widespread genetically modified crops may not be felt for years.
“We’ve studied all the research that’s been done around the world, we are very aware of the numerous regulators globally who have studied GMOs and who have said they are safe,” said General Mills Chief Executive Ken Powell, according to the Pioneer Press. “And of course we know and believe GMOs are very safe.”
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