Fri. Dec 6th, 2019

Cargill’s GMO Stevia Hoodwinks Customers

The worldwide meals conglomerate Cargill is ramping up commercial-scale manufacturing of its genetically engineered sweetener, EverSweet, in a brand new $50 million manufacturing facility that started working this week in Blair, Nebraska. The plant will “be producing sufficient EverSweet to sweeten many hundreds of thousands of bottles/cans of sentimental drinks or servings of yogurt every month,” in response to a Cargill spokesman. 

Cargill is advertising its new stevia substitute as “non-artificial.” What does that imply? Customers who click on on the hyperlink supplied within the press launch is not going to get a straight reply. The online web page twists itself in knots attempting to explain the brand new course of, which entails genetically engineering yeast to transform sugar molecules right into a substance that mimics the style of stevia, as a “centuries previous approach” — with out as soon as mentioning genetic engineering or the genetic modified organisms (GMOs) used to make the product. 

Cargill advised the Star Tribune it doesn’t market EverSweet as “pure” – so “non-artificial” it’s.  The subterfuge doesn’t finish there. 

Cargill, which former Congressman Henry Waxman’s environmental group named the “worst firm on the earth” in 2019 for (amongst different issues) its “repeated insistence on standing in the best way of worldwide progress on sustainability,” markets EverSweet as “sustainably” produced. That declare, as we reported in 2017 Huffington Submit article, was cooked up by PR strategists tasked with determining tips on how to make vat-produced elements sound palatable to shoppers who’re demanding recent, pure meals with clear, easy labels.

Firms and traders with their sights set on transferring stevia — and different high-value plant-based flavors and fragrances — off the farms and into the labs met in a 2014 technique session to debate tips on how to promote this idea to shoppers. PR strategists on the assembly really useful avoiding phrases like “artificial biology” and “genetic engineering” (too scary, an excessive amount of backlash), and advised going with extra obscure descriptions akin to “fermentation derived” and “nature an identical.”  They really useful focusing reporters on tales of hope and promise, and making meals activi
sts “really feel like we’re we’re all marching below the identical banner” for meals sustainability, transparency and meals sovereignty.

Firms and shoppers who really do care about these ideas would do nicely to look behind the hype. In Cargill’s body, Eversweet is “sustainable” as a result of it strikes manufacturing off the land. Nevertheless it actually doesn’t; the corporate’s new $50 million “fermentation facility,” located within the coronary heart of GMO Roundup Prepared corn nation, will rely on these pesticide-sprayed crops – or another sugar supply grown on the land – to feed the yeast in its vats to make EverSweet. Its press launch makes use of the buzzwords of sustainability however supplies no particulars to again up the claims. We reached out to the corporate to ask for extra particulars; no response but however we’ll add any feedback we obtain. 

In the meantime, farmers in international locations like Paraguay have been sustainably farming stevia for generations, and so they make a great residing cultivating the crop, studies the ETC Group. The World Financial Discussion board famous in a survey of main world dangers that “the invention of low-cost, artificial alternate options to high-value agricultural exports … might all of the sudden destabilize weak economies by eradicating a supply of revenue on which farmers rely.” Furthermore, poor farmers have been actively inspired to put money into stevia, as a result of its cultivation may also help protect fragile and distinctive ecosystems. 

For shoppers within the U.S., it’s getting tougher to keep away from the new genetically engineered meals which can be quietly making their method to grocery shops with out clear labeling. Licensed natural or non-GMO verified stay two requirements dedicated to avoiding artificial biology and genetically engineered elements.

As for Cargill, it’s the largest privately held firm within the U.S., larger even than the infamous Koch Industries, and its  footprint extends world wide, notes former congressman Waxman, chairman of the Mighty Earth marketing campaign, of their July report naming Cargill the Worst Firm within the World. “We acknowledge that is an audacious declare. There are, alas, many corporations that might vie for this doubtful honor. However this report supplies in depth and compelling proof to again it up … In my 40-year lengthy profession in Congress, I took on a spread of corporations that engaged in abusive practices. I’ve seen firsthand the dangerous affect of companies that don’t carry their ethics with them to work. However Cargill stands out.”

Posted with permission from U.S. Proper to Know

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