US Farmers At Odds With Dannon on Sustainability

US - American dairy product company Dannon, a subsidiary of global food company Danone, has come under fire from a number of US farming organisations for its new policy on genetically modified feed.
calendar icon 18 October 2016
clock icon 2 minute read

Dannon recently announced that all its cows will be fed non-GM feed by the end of 2018, which will involve the conversion of an estimated 80,000 acres of farmland to produce non-GM crops, according to the company. Dannon says the move will bring greater transparency and choice to customers.

However, a number of US farming organisations jointly sent a letter to the head of Dannon, saying that sustainability goals cannot be achieved without the use of modern agricultural practices such as GM technology.

In the letter sent to Mariano Lozano, head of Dannon’s US operations, the farm groups said that the company’s strategy to eliminate GM: “is the exact opposite of the sustainable agriculture that you claim to be seeking.”

“This is just marketing puffery, not any true innovation that improves the actual product offered to consumers,” said Randy Mooney, chairman of the National Milk Producers Federation, and a dairy farmer from Rogersville, Missouri. “What’s worse is that removing GMOs from the equation is harmful to the environment – the opposite of what these companies claim to be attempting to achieve.”

The letter was cosigned by the farmer leaders of the American Farm Bureau Federation, American Soybean Association, American Sugarbeet Growers Association, National Corn Growers Association, National Milk Producers Federation and US Farmers and Ranchers Alliance. 

The groups challenged as disingenuous the assertion that sustainability is enhanced by stopping the use of GM processes.

US Farmers & Ranchers Alliance CEO Randy Krotz added: “When food companies directly mislead consumers, as has been done in this example with Dannon, individual farmers as well as farm organizations will continue to assertively defend our critical technologies.”

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