As part of a long statement today (April 27) from French parent Danone on biodiversity, Dannon Co. in the U.S. will start labeling products for the presence of GMO ingredients by December 2017 and will wean its farmers off GMO corn and other feed by the end of 2018.
For the July 1 labeling deadline in Vermont, Dannon will relabel products only for that state, according to a company spokesperson.
Additionally, Dannon will "evolve" all products from its three flagship brands – Dannon, Oikos and Danimals – toward the use of fewer ingredients that are all more natural and non-GMO starting this July.
Dannon-owned companies Stonyfield Farm and HappyFamily already are GMO-free.
"As most of the cattle feed in the USA is genetically modified today, and since Dannon’s direct sourcing enables cooperation with farmers on experimenting and innovating in the upstream supply chain, Dannon is working with cow feed suppliers and its farmer partners to start planting non-GMO feed commodities as soon as possible to fulfill its needs," the statement said. "Once those alternative solutions are implemented, the products from the three brand families will contain milk from cows entirely fed with non-GMO feed no later than the end of 2018."
The corporate statement acknowledges the promise of GMO technology, but adds, "In today’s world environment, some suggest that this global model – which brings apparent simplicity and short term efficiency – may become the source of a systemic risk for global food security, as not sufficiently taking into account long term farmers’ autonomy and natural biodiversity, with uncertain long term consequences on soil fertility and carbon, water usage, and fossil energy efficiency.
"As a company with a goal to develop meaningful brands, we believe consumers have a fundamental role to play in choosing which agricultural and environmental model they favor through their everyday choices of consumption and usage.
"The Danone policy on biodiversity and the use or non-use of ingredients or cow feed derived from or containing GMO crops depends on our vision of agriculture and existing biodiversity risks and opportunities in the countries where we operate. In the European Union, a consensus has been reached and translated into regulation, putting a very low limit above which GMO ingredients must be declared, enabling consumer choice…. As a result none of our products [in Europe] carry a GMO label."