NestlÚ Exec Says: GMOs Are Unnecessary, But Our Customers Demand Them

Has NestlÚ been caught in a contradiction? According to Take Part, they have. NestlÚ USA has donated more than $1 million dollars to the “Say No to 37″ campaign, fighting against the proposed labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in California. Then, seemingly out of left field, a NestlÚ executive said that GMOs are unnecessary and that the food industry would benefit from more sustainable approaches.

Hans J÷hr, corporate head of sustainable agriculture at NestlÚ and honorary president of SAI Platform, a group of global food and drink companies focused on improving sustainability, told Food Navigator that GM food is not the ‘answer’ to feeding the world. According to Rod Addy at Food Navigator, J÷hr explained that “the food industry would reap more benefits from using resources more sustainably and employing other techniques,” including a heavy focus on addressing water issues.

Many people in the United States seem surprised by the NestlÚ executive’s remarks, especially given NestlÚ USA’s stance on GMOs. However, for a Swiss executive at a Swiss company, these opinions are fairly run of the mill. The Swiss were leaders in questioning GMOs in Europe and a ban on the use of GMOs in domestic agriculture was implemented in 2005. Although some GMO products are allowed, they are difficult to find since retailers assume that consumers will shun products that are clearly labeled as containing GMOs.This means that NestlÚ is used to operating and successfully selling products in an environment where GMOs are scarce and highly questioned by consumers.

Within that context, J÷hr’s remarks on GMOs are not particularly surprising. What is more confusing perhaps is his explanation for NestlÚ’s continued use of GMO ingredients in its products in places like North America. J÷hr told Food Navigator:

We [NestlÚ] have a very simple way of looking at GM: listen to what the consumer wants. If they don’t want it in products, you don’t put it in them.

Does this statement make sense? Are consumers in countries like the United States and Canada demanding GMOs? That is highly doubtful. It is more likely that they:

  • Don’t know very much about GMOs and the potential impacts on our health and the environment.
  • Don’t know which products contain GMOs and which ones don’t, since no labeling is required.
  • Don’t have sufficient access to GMO-free foods to be able to feed their family, given the pervasiveness of GMOs in the North American food supply.

Other than certified organic products, which must be GMO-free, there is no way for consumers in Canada and the United States to know which products contain GMOs and which ones do not. Consumers are kept in the dark and are not making an informed choice when it comes to consuming or avoiding products containing GMOs.

Consumers in California may soon have the chance to put J÷hr’s hypothesis to the test. On November 6th, Californians will get to vote on Proposition 37, which calls for genetically modified foods to be clearly labeled. Fifty countries around the world currently have significant restrictions or bans of GMOs, while the United States and Canada do not even require labeling of them. We don’t know what we’re eating and it is time that we were able to make an informed choice. If Californians vote Yes on Prop 37, it has the potential to spread to other jurisdictions too.

Related Posts

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The David Vs. Goliath Battle of GMO Labeling

Why PepsiCo Is Fighting GMO Labeling in California

Photo credit: Millions Against Monsanto on flickr


Jim Ven
Jim Ven2 years ago

thanks for sharing.

Nancy Hatcher
Nancy Hatcher5 years ago

Yeah, right, Jöhr. I just going to go right out there and demand GMO's. Horse poop!

Charlotte S.
Charlotte S5 years ago

I'd like to know what customers want it. I don't know any people who want GMO's in their food. If they did then labeling products with GMO's shouldn't be a problem would it? I do believe this company is telling LIES. Why else would companies and the Grocery Manufacturers Association be sinking millions into fighting GMO labeling. Apparently the executives in this company are eating the GMO tainted products and it's effecting their brains. Until GMO labeling is in place on the FEDERAL level I will add Nestles to the list of companies I do not buy from. To see which compani8es are fighting the GMO Labeling use your search engine. You may be in for a shock when you see the list. And I urge everyone to write each company and tell them you will not be buying their products until they either stop using GMO tainted products or have GMO tainted products labeled so we have a choice.

Wendy Schroeder
Wendy Schroeder6 years ago


Christina Robertson
Tina Robertson6 years ago

Americans, especially the younger generation care more about the label on their T-Shirt, what designer brand of shoes they are wearing, what nail polish, lipstick or make-up that is on their face than what they put in their bodies.

They only pay attention to the outside package, while the inside rots away....give them McDonald's or Taco Bell and they are happy.......

We are a pathetic, complacent society that would rather watch TV, talk on the cell and walk with IPods on , than read or write, or care enough to voice our opinion on Gm/GE foods.
And that's the truth !!!!!.

Magdalen B.
Magdalen B6 years ago

Of course they demand them, and turkeys always vote for Christmas.

Danuta Watola
Danuta W6 years ago

Thank you so much for this article

Aludra N.
susan m6 years ago

97% want labeling,, yet do we have it? Wake up America,,, you only think you have choices, but in reality, you have almost none. If what we the people mattered, things would be very different. And yet, during election frenzy people are all about worrying over social/religious issues and no one seems to address the real issues, like the destruction of our planet for the sake of greed. Humans are a stupid species on the fast track to extinction, and personally I think they deserve it. I only hope they wipe themselves out before they take the Earth with them, then she could regenerate without the parasitic virus called a human. Are they all like that, of course not, but it's obvious the majority is.

Phillipa W.
Phillipa W6 years ago

I wish an education campaign was run about the dangers/concerns and possible dangers about GMO's. Sadly, many don't seem to realize WHAT they are. They hear that GMO means some sort of super-crop that puts out massive yield and is drought resistant etc. They don't seem to realize that no, they're engineered to either kill pests that eat them, or to withstand vast amounts of herbicides which are known to kill animals.

Andee F.
Andee F.6 years ago

I wonder how many people really understand GMO foods?

I also am curious as to if they truly understand GMO foods do not contain much nutritive value; they were created, I am told and have read, to fill the void in our stomachs with the coming prospect of world wide starvation (thanks to Chemtrails and misuse of our lands), if more understood that nutrition is not there, perhaps they would not be supportive of ingesting them; but, on the other hand, if one is hungry and they fill the void, they may feel differently. My concern is the fact that eventually the lack of nutritive substances within the GMOs will start taking a toll on our health...that said, the food in the schools is like horrible and unappealing to ingest.