Dannon announced with great fanfare last year a “sweeping commitment for sustainable agriculture, more natural ingredients, and greater transparency,” with a key aspect of that pledge being its decision to begin sourcing the milk for its products from cows fed only non- GMO feed.
What the company didn’t say was this: eliminating GMOs from their food supply does not improve sustainability – it jeopardizes it. In addition, whether a cow is fed GM or non-GM feed is irrelevant – the science clearly shows no genetic trace of the GMO-feed in the milk produced. According to a study by the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, “Genetically engineered DNA, or the novel proteins encoded in therein, have never been detected in the milk, meat, or eggs derived from animals fed genetically engineered feedstuffs.” Bottom line, the milk is identical either way.
Dannon even acknowledges this in its effort to dismiss a lawsuit brought against the company regarding its “all natural” claims on dairy products from cows that may have eaten feed grown from GM seeds. In its motion for dismissal, Dannon argued, “the mere consumption [by dairy cows] of genetically modified food simply cannot affect the genetic makeup of the organism consuming it.”
When asked recently to point out any nutritional, environmental or other consumer benefit to sourcing milk from cows fed non-GM feed, a Dannon spokesperson couldn’t give an answer, instead saying that the move was about “meeting consumer demand.”
Take it from Dannon, the company’s decision to source only non-GM feed has nothing to do with sustainability or more natural ingredients, and everything to do with deceptive, fear- based marketing that is confusing to consumers and damaging to the environment.