Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Kashi Lesson

The work of corporate watchdog groups, greater awareness, social media and a general skepticism of corporations are giving consumers more power to make ethical and environmental choices in their purchases.  Thank goodness for this, because federal and state governments seem to be shying away from any regulation of industry including food production and toxics reduction.

With 93% of Americans indicating that they believe genetically modified ingredients should be labeled, it is not surprising that Kashi's customers were especially enraged to find that Kashi's cereal ingredients are not nearly as "natural" as their marketing might have customers believe.  The cold cereals use genetically modified (the Roundup-ready variety) soy

Kashi defended itself by creating a video that explains that over 80% of crops are grown using GMO and that the issue is not Kashi's ingredient choices, but an environment where GMOs are not sufficiently controlled.  To give the impression that the use of GMOs is unavoidable is inaccurate.  Kashi announced that it will work with the Non-GMO Project to verify its cold cereals as "non-GMO" on its website this week.

People seem to care more and more about what's in their food, and companies that generally don't care about the ingredients (that means you McDonald's and Burger King) are responding and even preempting consumer disapproval by removing ingredients like pink slime and beginning to alter their meat sourcing based on animal welfare (they still have a long, long way to go).

So vote with your dollar and vote with your voice.  Social media seems to work, posts on Kashi's wall were powerful.  And if you question how "natural" something in your health food store is, you can probably talk to the owner about your concerns.  Most small, independently owned health food stores are concerned about these issues and responsive to their customers.  Removing Kashi from one store in Rhode Island was what ignited this whole conversation.

Read more about Kashi's GMO use exposure and their response:


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