I’d certainly like to bake some holiday cookies without GMOs, and when I initially heard McCormick would be rolling out a non-GMO vanilla, I thought it was pretty cool that like other food companies, McCormick is listening to its customers about what they really want in their food.

The company:

“…announced plans to take a leadership position in Organic and Non-GMO herbs and spices ahead of the peak holiday season.”

Unfortunately, the company says that it will be calling their vanilla non-GMO and only verifying this through their normal supply chain, and not necessarily through any transparent means, such as through the Non-GMO Project.

McCormick also claims that over 70% of all McCormick branded spices will be transitioning to either organic or non-GMO. Lori Robinson, Vice President of Corporate Branding, confirmed via an email to Project NOSH that the Non-GMO Vanilla extract will only be ‘verified’ through the company itself, but that they have considered going through the verification process via the Non-GMO Project.

All that the company claims isn’t necessarily up to standard, though. When a July study found that many dried oregano products made by McCormick contained fillers, they quickly issued a statement touting their “field to bottle” sourcing and that all of its oregano products are tested for purity and then “gently” dried to preserve flavor and color. That still doesn’t account for unnecessary fillers.

Like other Big Food Companies, they are swallowing up smaller businesses to try to stay relevant to people who want more simple, straight-forward food.

In August the company completed its $100 million dollar acquisition of Stubb’s barbecue sauces, a brand that has no high fructose corn syrup and seems to be free of other questionable ingredients not wanted by consumers.

Without verification; however, McCormick may very well be like many other companies who just slap an organic or non-GNO label on their food to try to keep consumers buying them.

Only recently, companies like Kellogg’s Kashi were found to be touting their organic standards, only to be found that they were full of GMOs and other unwanted ingredients. Another popular tortilla chip brand was claiming to be organic, but was found to have over 70% contaminated GM corn in their product line.

As the Environmental Working Group explains:

“Manufacturers use the term “organic” in their product names to mislead consumers about the sources of the ingredients. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the federal agency that regulates cosmetics, acknowledges that it does not “define or regulate the term ‘organic’ as it applies to cosmetics, body care or personal care products.”

But these are just questions and general issues brought to light. Perhaps the non-GMO vanilla extract will be authentic, as the company does work to preserve its image.

This article originally appeared at Natural Society.


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