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Betty Crocker bakes up some GMO sanity

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Three cheers for Betty Crocker. We’ve always counted on the Betty Crocker brand of cake mixes and other products when time was short, but a freshly-baked cake or a batch of brownies was necessary for a church supper, a Farm Bureau meeting or a graduation gathering. Even a challenged baker like me could always count on the brand with the bright, red spoon on the label.

And now there’s another big reason to cheer for Betty Crocker: the brand has placed itself firmly on the side of sanity about GMOs.

General Mills, which owns the legendary Betty Crocker brand, recently received a consumer inquiry about the label on its frosting which stated the product was “partially produced with genetic engineering.” The consumer asked Betty to explain herself.

The company’s answer was perfect.

In a tweet, General Mills said: “GMOs are safe, we would not use them if we thought otherwise. Safe food is, and has always been, our number one priority. Global food and safety regulatory bodies, including the FDA and the WHO, have also verified their safety.”

Then General Mills directed the consumer to its website to learn more about the safety of GMOs.

General Mills didn’t try to dance around the question of GMO safety and pretend there are still unanswered questions about the technology. It was upfront about the fact that it uses ingredients made from genetically modified crops in its frosting and other products. Most importantly, General Mills did not transition its whole line of Betty Crocker products to GMO-free to address a small group of consumers’ concerns about genetically-modified crops.

Food choice is great. Consumers should be allowed to choose any foods they want and can afford.

But it’s simply wrong to scare consumers about the safety of GMOs the way some food companies do to set themselves apart in the market and charge higher prices. They will probably keep it up, but I’m going with Betty Crocker.

By Dirck Steimel. Dirck is the News Services Manager and Spokesman Editor for the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation.