General Mills Inc on Friday said it would begin putting labels on its products that contain genetically engineered ingredients, a move that comes days after U.S. Senators failed to advance legislation aimed at blocking Vermont from requiring such labels on July 1.
U.S. consumer are calling for greater transparency around food production and sourcing, and many want mandatory labels on foods that contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
The decision from the seller of Cheerios cereal and Nature Valley Granola bars comes after high-profile companies such as Whole Foods Market Inc, Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc and Campbell Soup Co have bowed to consumer pressure by requiring GMO labels or abandoning the use of GMOs.
"Vermont state law requires us to start labeling certain grocery store food packages that contain GMO ingredients or face significant fines," General Mills said on its company blog.
"We can't label our products for only one state without significantly driving up costs for our consumers and we simply will not do that," the company added.
The food industry has spent millions of dollars fighting mandatory GMO labeling efforts on the state and federal level. On Wednesday, a federal bill that would have nullified mandatory state and local GMO labeling laws failed to garner enough support to move forward.
That bill also would allow food makers to decide whether to tell consumers about GMO ingredients in their products.