First Things First:
What the Heck is a GMO?

May 24, 2014

Genetically modified organisms, or GMOs , are organisms that have had their genetic makeup (DNA) altered through genetic engineering in a way that does not occur in nature or through traditional cross-breeding methods. GMOs include crops like corn and soy that claim they are resistant to chemical herbicides and toxic, persistent pesticides, and even a genetically engineered salmon that is meant to mature in half the time of a regular fish.

Sounds great, right? Now, we aren’t scientists, we make ice cream, but we do know there are questions about whether GMO technology is truly living up to its promise of making bigger and better food, or whether it’s just simply another way to further industrialize and consolidate our food and agriculture system. Because Ben & Jerry’s has a long history of supporting family owned farms, we’re concerned that increasing GMO crops comes at the expense of smaller farms, which we believe is a more sustainable kind of farming.

GMOs_US.jpgWhat we do know is that GMOs are found in key commodity crops grown in the United States, like corn and soy. Because more than half of processed food products on grocery store shelves contain one or more genetically engineered ingredient, it’s likely that almost all of us eat foods that contain GMOs on a regular basis.

There is a growing movement of consumers, and health and environmental advocates who are demanding that companies be transparent about whether or not their products contain GMOs. Those advocates and citizens are calling for mandatory labeling of all products made with one or more GMO ingredient. In fact, there are already more than 40 countries around the world that have mandatory labeling of GMO foods. We support those calling for transparency and a consumer’s right to know and support the push for mandatory labeling. We ought to all have freedom to choose whether or not we want to eat food that has been genetically engineered. We think this is a fundamental right.

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