Nestle GMO Case Ruling in Brazil has opened the door to a huge public outcry against GMOs – especially in America. This is good news for consumers – but not so much for Nestle.
In this episode of Future of Engagement, Murray Newlands discusses the global battle being fought over GMO labeling.
This week a Brazilian court ordered the Swedish food and beverage giant Nestle Corp. to label their products as Genetically Modified food products. After a long fight by Nestle, the court made a decision mandating that the brand must label any product sold in Brazil with over one percent Genetically Modified ingredient as containing GMOs.
“Food World News further explains that, as a result of this ruling, all foods with GMO content will have to bear a yellow triangle label with the word “transgenic,” to impart consumers with the knowledge that the product they’re about to buy has genetically engineered ingredients.” ~ FoodandDrinkDigital.com in Brazil Court Orders Nestlé to Label Products with GMOs
Following Nestlé’s loss in court, social media has led the discussion about the trial and about GMOs in general. Although many consumers are anti-GMOs, there is still debate surrounding their safety.
Are GMOs dangerous to our health?
Should foods containing GMOs be labeled?
Do consumers have a right to know what’s in their food?
According to some countries, the answer is “yes.” In addition to the recent ruling in Brazil, Poland banned GMO corn and Peru passed a 10 year ban on all GMOs. The Federal government of the U.S. has done a lot to advance GMOs and Monsanto, the primary designer and distributor of GMOs, but public opinion regarding GMOs is changing.
“WikiLeaks documents revealed just how closely Monsanto has been working with the United States government, and just how serious the U.S. is about ensuring that the corporation’s GMO crops are widely accepted across the globe.
Amazingly, the Brazilian court took a stand against this corruption. Instead of groveling to Brazilian officials and mega biotechnology groups, the Brazilian business wire reports that the court determined the Brazilian government to be illegally working with the food industry entity known as ABIA.” ~ Activist Post in Brazilian Court Demands Nestle Label GMO Ingredients
In California, a measure has been introduced to to require mandatory labeling on GMO foods sold within the state – Prop. 37. The prop. will be added to the November election ballot, and, if passed, could start a domino effect with other states.
In the meantime, a consumer-spurred initiative has begun to spread the word about GMOs and their potential danger.
The Label It Yourself campaign was started to ask concerned
consumers to print off or create their own labels and actually
go to stores and put warning labels on the products themselves!
The lawsuit in Brazil and the Label It Yourself campaign have contributed to a high number of negative comments in social media platforms over the past week. With the vote for Prop 37 in California coming up, if Nestle Corp. doesn’t monitor and address their social media situation, they could see boycotts, even more negative publicity, and huge profit losses.
There are several valuable lessons to be learned from Nestlé’s situation that even small businesses can apply to the way their run their companies. The first lesson is that it’s essential to be transparent.
If your product contains genetically modified foods, be open about it.
Be open about everything, so you don’t have to clean up a mess later. A lot of consumers won’t care, but your honesty will help you out in the long run. Hiding something makes for bad press, poor brand image, and serious PR problems.
Additionally, Nestle has failed to get involved in the dialogue surrounding their trial and the GMO debate, and by not participating they come across as actively concealing information. Instead of silence, Nestle could be defending their products using some studies that purport that GMOs are safe.
Silence is almost never the appropriate action to take in
response to a social media discussion about your brand.
Honesty and transparency is essential to your brand’s image and your company’s credibility. If you fail to be transparent, legislation could be enacted to force you to be transparent.
If consumer outcry is demanding something, oblige before you wind up in a lawsuit. Listen to the public by using social media monitoring like Alerti’s – stay informed on what is being said about your brand.
Not only is it much better for consumer relations to be honest –
it can save your company the cost of going through a trial.
The importance of transparency
GMOs and Nestle
The importance of engagement
[NOTE from GAIL: This is a guest post by Murray Newlands’ staff edited by Gail at GrowMap. The companies that are behind GMOs apparently feel that labeling would be likely to result in even those who aren’t opposed to GMOs to avoid them JUST IN CASE.
They may be correct because consumer pressure caused them
to abandon the GMO potatoes used in fast food french fries.
That is why they are fighting so hard to prevent GMO labeling. I personally consider GMOs so dangerous to health that I strongly recommend sourcing your food locally from people who know how to avoid GMO feed and seeds and avoiding any commercial product that is likely to contain GMO ingredients which include corn, soy beans, and sugar derived from sugar beets.
See my Recommended Brands page for brands that are safer to eat -
And for how to find Local CSAs, Farmer’s Markets and Coops.
That page is linked from the center column on every page of this blog.
It is my understanding that pure cane sugar is not affected so buy only packages that indicate pure cane sugar. If there is no indication it is probably made from sugar beets and should be avoided.
NOTE: Products labeled organic CAN contain GMOs which is why I
recommend buying your food locally from people you know and trust.
Corn in the form of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is found in most commercially packaged products and fast food including soda. HFCS is found in meats and poultry (because it was feed to the animals) and even the french fries may be fried in corn or soybean oil.
For additional information about threats to our food supply see my Food Rights post.
What do YOU think? Would you avoid GMOs if you could?
Do you try to avoid them now? Tell us in the comments!