Tell Hershey and Mars: There is nothing sweet about GMOs!
Every year, around this time, entire aisles at grocery stores and drug stores turn red with seasonally branded Valentine’s Day candy. In fact, after Halloween, Valentine’s Day is the single largest candy-consuming day all year in the Unites States.
Almost as ubiquitous as the red and pink wrapped Valentine’s Day treats at this time are the genetically engineered ingredients within these products. Some of America’s favorite sweets, even dressed-up in their Valentine’s Day best, are still chock full of ingredients that are highly likely to be genetically engineered.
Much of these treats are made by Hershey and Mars, the oldest and largest chocolate manufacturers in the US. Together they comprise nearly 70% of the US Chocolate Market, and they have another thing in common—their love affair with GMOs.
WARNING: May contain GMOs
Reese’s Peanut Butter filled Hearts (Hershey) contain sugar, soy lecithin, and cornstarch
Hershey Hugs contain sugar, soy lecithin and corn syrup solids
Valentine’s Colored M&M’s (Mars) contain sugar, soy lecithin, cornstarch, and corn syrup
Valentine’s Snickers (Mars) contain soy lecithin, corn syrup, sugar, and partially hydrogenated soybean oil
Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have never been proven safe for consumption, and a growing body of studies is raising concerns around the health effects of eating them. GMOs are also increasing the use of toxic herbicides and causing harm to farmers in the US and abroad.
In Europe, where genetically modified ingredients are already required to be labeled, Hershey and Mars have had to adapt their recipes to formulate Kisses and M&Ms without GMOs. According to Confectionary News, Hershey products made for distribution in Europe will be formulated without GMO Ingredients, in order to meet the requirements of major retailers which ban the sale of products with genetically modified ingredients and to satisfy increasing consumer concern about the safety of GMOs.
If it’s possible to make the same candy without GMOs in Europe, why can’t Hershey and Mars do it here?
Rather than listen to consumer demand in the United States, Hershey and Mars together spent more than a million dollars to oppose GMO labeling in California last election. Hershey is reported to have spent $518,900 to defeat Prop 37 and Mars spent $498,350.
Unless you can buy these treats for your sweetie in Europe, there is a high chance you could be giving your true love a Valentine that endangers their health and the environment because of GMOs. This year, you should choose organic certified chocolate or non-GMO verified treats to show the loved ones in your life you really care. Even sweeter, you should look for fair trade products that ensure workers are treated fairly. And, make sure to tell Hershey and Mars you expect them to ditch the GMOs from all their candy, all year long.