In North America, the debate over whether or not to label food products made with genetically modified ingredients is still raging on. Meanwhile, in the Southern Hemisphere, decisions are being made. In particular, a court in Sao Paulo has overturned an initiative between food industry trade organizations and the Brazilian government, effectively ordering Nestlé to label any products sold in Brazil that contain more than one percent GMO ingredients.
The product that triggered this court case in Brazil was Nestlé’s strawberry-flavored Bono Cookies, which were found to contain genetically modified soy as an ingredient. According to Confectionary News, over half of the soybeans used in the cookies were genetically modified, a fact that found Nestlé in violation of Article 31 of Brazil’s Consumer Protection Code.
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. Will that be cost prohibitive for Nestlé to add an extra sign on its label? No more so than adding any other new design on a package. What it just might do, however, is allow consumers to be more transparently informed about what they’re buying.
Brazil has certainly been tough on GMOs before – back in June, Brazil’s Supreme Court ordered Monsanto to pay back nearly $2 billion in royalties to local farmers. But this ruling sets a huge precedent: according to Food World News, this court decision puts Brazil in the same league with Japan and the European Union, two other regions who require labeling of genetically modified ingredients.
Your move, North America.