Three natural cereal manufacturers, Annie’s Homegrown, Barbara’s Bakery, and Peace Cereals are having their products verified through the Non-GMO Project.
Aimee Sands, Annie’s Homegrown marketing director, said “Annie’s is strongly opposed to the use of GMOs, and we make every effort to ensure our suppliers furnish us with complete information so that we can adhere to this position. We are also working to further test and verify the non-GMO status of our offerings.”
Kent Spalding, vice president of marketing at Barbara’s Bakery, says his company is working with the Non-GMO Project to minimize GMO risks. “They are working with our research and development team to go through the (non-GMO) protocols.”
Spalding also admitted to challenges finding reliable sources of non-GMO corn. “That’s the one we are having the biggest challenge with,” he says.
Spalding says Barbara’s recognizes the importance of being non-GMO. “It’s a defining issue for natural foods and certainly important to us.”
Peace Cereals joined the Non-GMO Project because the company already had a non-GMO commitment and because non-GMO is a growing trend, says Rob Goluba, director of marketing at Hearthside Foods, which recently purchased Peace Cereals.
“It makes sense to have our products non-GMO verified,” Goluba says. “There are too many unknowns and negative effects with GMOs.”
Thirteen Peace Cereal products are going through the Non-GMO Project’s verification program. Once the verification is complete, Peace Cereals will feature the Non-GMO Project seal.
Time to regulate “natural” label?
The likely use of GMOs in natural cereals is sure to fuel the growing debate over the validity of “natural” labels on food products. Does natural mean that GMOs are acceptable?
There have been calls for the US Food and Drug Administration to regulate the “natural” claims on food products. Market research firm Mintel predicts that the “natural” claim will come under FDA scrutiny this year.
In 2010, the Hain Celestial Group called on all consumer packaged goods companies to adopt standards for natural and healthful products using a similar model to the National Organic Program standard. Hain published a guide to understanding “The ‘ABCs’ of Natural” and issued a statement, saying “it is time for companies to restrict the use of natural claims and accompany them with meaningful nutritional information that is consistent.”