Parents in South Africa spoke, and Nestlè listened.
In 2013, the African Center for Biosafety found that Nestlè’s Cerelac Honey contained 77.65% genetically-modified (GM) corn.
When consumers learned this, they petitioned Nestlè to remove all GM ingredients from its baby foods:
“it took consumer preferences into consideration and therefore all its infant cereals in South Africa used non-GM maize.”
A victory for South African children. Nestlè is the parent company of Gerber and Carnation who also manufacture children’s food.
Big Change for Nestlè
Given that 72% of the corn grown in South Africa is GM, this shows genuine effort by this Big Food giant. This change is even more notable when you consider that a) Nestlè spent $1.2 million to oppose Proposition 37 in California in 2012, and b) at this very same time, Nestlè did exactly the opposite in the U.S. than what it did in South Africa.
Additionally, because the European Union has strict regulations around GM organisms (GMO)–and many countries have banned them entirely–there are no GMO in any baby food products sold there.
It wasn’t until the Consumer Protection Act became enacted in October 2011 in South Africa that there was any requirement to label GM food. People there had been eating GMO for years without knowing it. After the Act became effective and consumers began to see and understand what was in their food, not only did they have a choice, they spoke out when it came to protecting their babies.
Why is the U.S. Different?
That’s a very important question. It can’t be the cost of changing wording and printing labels–food companies have to do that anyway. The answer is simple but not what you want to hear: Big Food doesn’t want you to know what you’re buying.
The GM industry is an enormous, many multi-billion dollar industry. Big Ag develops new life forms in laboratories that respond only to the herbicides and pesticides it also develops. Use of these chemicals has been linked to countless diseases and disorders, including cancer, digestive disorders, obesity, kidney and liver toxicity, and autism, in addition to destroying bee colonies.
They are, without question, toxic to all living things, not just weeds. The GM foods themselves cause cancer, gluten disorders, and who knows what else. Not only that, but GM farming methods threaten the fertility and sustainability of the soil itself from which it grows.
How it Works
GMO ingredients aren’t the only ones food manufacturers don’t want you to read on their labels. Additives, preservatives, artificial colors, salts, sugars and artificial sweeteners, emulsifiers, synthetic vitamins, and non-food items go into what you buy.
They may even be labelled “natural” or “inactive” but if you knew what titanium dioxide is or that the majority of L-cysteine is obtained industrially by hydrolysis of poultry feathers or human hair, you wouldn’t want to eat them. 
Educate yourself to know what you are taking into your body and what you are feeding your precious children. Transparency by food manufacturers should be an absolute requirement so that you can make an informed choice. It should be like that men’s clothing guy used to say: “an educated consumer is our best customer”.
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