This post contains content sponsored by The Dannon Company, Inc. The opinions expressed in my post are my own. For more information on Dannon’s move toward sustainable agriculture, naturality and transparency,and nongmo ingredients visit www.dannonpledge.com and www.dannon.com/ingredients.
Once upon a time, farmers milked their own cows and fed that milk to their families.
The cows were usually in the pasture, eating grass, because buying feed was either too expensive or not readily available. Farmers didn’t use weed killer to get rid of weeds, nor did they spend hours and hours on a manicured lawn. Weed killers in harsh chemical form didn’t exist back then, and getting rid of weeds wasn’t important. Most everything they did surrounded by the idea that they and their family needed food to survive.
Fast forward a couple decades or so.
Farmers still raised the cows on grass, but they needed more and more milk to feed a population of those who didn’t own their own cows. Harsh chemicals were still not used on the grass, and cows were still fat and happy out in the field. Milk was delivered right to your doorstep, on a regular basis, by the milkman. Cows were happy, farmers were happy, and the people were happy. But, as we continue going forward in time, something changed.
Farming became a booming “business” and more about crops like corn and soybeans.
And, in the race to get as many crops as possible during a season, the crops were modified (known now as genetically modified organisms) in a lab to withstand pesticides and herbicides, as well as being grown more closely together. And, plowing fields to plant these crops left little to no room for animals, and they were shoved into tightly packed barns to live. Since there was less room, less cows were owned. However, the need for milk and milk products such as yogurt, ice cream, sour cream and cheese grew. So, many farmers turned to giving the cows artificial hormones that would allow the cow to produce up to 4x the amount of milk it normally would. It sounded great in theory, but in reality, the hormones also went into the milk and milk products. Since there wasn’t enough room for grass, the cows were fed the crops with the genetic modification. Was it safe for humans to consume the milk any longer?
Some would say no, others would say yes.
The problem was that people didn’t seem to get a choice in the matter of knowing whether or not their food had been genetically altered. For those that felt it was safe to eat GMO’s and dairy that came from cows fed GMO’s, it didn’t seem like a big deal. For those that felt it may not be safe, it was all out war to get the food labeled. “At least give us a chance to know what’s in our food”. Then, the DARK act came. Americans were denied the right to know what was in their food, and many companies seemed to be in cahoots with this. Why? What was the big deal? Was there no company out there that still had some integrity and would allow their consumers to KNOW what was in their food?
Dannon is just such a company.
They know that their consumers are requesting more clear and honest labeling to allow an informed choice, so they stepped up to the plate. Dannon is moving some of their topselling brands toward nonGMO ingredients and going beyond that to develop a supply of nonGMO feed for their cows. Dannon is the first national yogurt company to do that. And, by the end of 2017, Dannon will clearly label its products that contain GMOs. As a matter of fact, to provide consumers a choice of more natural products, they are evolving all products from their three flagship brands — Dannon, Oikos and Danimals, which is 50% of their sales — toward the use of nonGMO. Clearly, they are listening.
To further provide transparency about all our products, they are committing to declare the presence of GMO ingredients in our products, on their labels, by December 2017, independent of whatever actions are taken by the federal government.
They are able to do it.They now source all the milk we use directly from farms that are well known, becoming the first of the leading national yogurt makers to embrace this practice. We are already very far along in implementing animal welfare practices at their farmer partners’operations via the Validus Certification system. Dannon is confident that by July 2016, more than 90% of their direct milk supply will come from farms that are Validus Certified. That is a promise that I can stand behind. So, for me and my family, we will choose Dannon products that are clearly labeled so we can make an informed choice. We avoid GMO’s and are happy that Dannon is leading the way for a nonGMO dairy choice.