Friday, February 8, 2013

M&M Analysis: Altered Recipes in Europe Remove GMOs

The two wrappers.

  I had a brilliant idea for a blog. At least I thought I did. It was a little exploratory project I thought would be interesting.

  I had two empty wrappers of Peanut M&Ms: one from Europe, and one from the US.

  I'd previously read articles about how food companies such as Kraft, Kellogg's, Heinz, Coca-Cola and Pepsi have altered recipes, and removed GMO ingredients, for distribution in Europe. So I wanted to see that practice in action.

  Obviously, these two wrappers would illustrate those changes, right? I simply had to translate and compare the ingredient lists from each wrapper.

  As it turned out, there was nothing glaringly different! I was bummed, and thought my project was a failure.

  Then the light bulb went on: there weren't any differences on the labels because the US still does not require genetically modified foods to be labeled (while countries in the European Union do)!

The ingredient list: basically the same. Or so it seems.
Different Label Requirements
  In the US, genetically modified sugar or canola oil, for example, is listed simply as 'sugar' and 'canola oil'.

  In countries where GMO labeling is required, the ingredient list says 'genetically modified sugar' or 'genetically modified canola oil'.

  In France, where I got the 'Euro-edition' wrapper, GMOs are required to be labeled. So the question is: why weren't the ingredients listed on my two Peanut M&M wrappers different?

Changing Recipes and Removing GMOs
  Well, that's simple. Because the candy company, Mars in this case, has altered its recipe and has taken out the genetically modified ingredients for European distribution. They want to avoid having the GMO label on their product, so they adjust.

  So they can do it! They just choose not to for their American consumers! To be honest, I find the practice extremely disturbing.

  Together Hershey's and Mars make up 70% of the US chocolate market, and spent $1.1 million combined to defeat California Right To Know (Proposition 37) last election. They would rather spend money to oppose labeling, than listen to the demands of US consumers and label GMOs.

  My goal isn't to take away your joy, and ruin your candy experience. I love Peanut M&Ms just as much as the next person. I just want to show that the food companies can make the same products without putting genetically modified ingredients in them.

"There's nothing sweet about GMOs".
Nothing Sweet About GMOs 
  They're not going to make any changes on their own however. They need a push. And it seems it needs to be a big push.

  We, as consumers, need to keep providing that push, and ask that genetically modified ingredients be removed from our food, just as it has been done in Europe.

  The push comes in the form of the 'there's nothing sweet about GMOs' campaign. It's simply asking Hershey's and Mars to break their ties with GMOs, and to remove them from products offered in the US.

Why no GMOs?
  I have previously written several posts (links listed below) that go into greater detail, but first and foremost: consumption of GMOs have never been proven safe. They have never been tested long term, and we are just now witnessing the potential health hazards that GM foods have on our health: spikes in infertility, obesity, Diabetes, Autism, Parkinson's, asthma, cancer, etc rates since GMOs' wide-spread introduction in the US in the late-1990s.

  There are environmental impacts as well: biodiversity loss, an increase in pesticide use, the emergence of super weeds that are threatening our farmlands, and the unintentional contamination of non-GMO and organic crops.

  And if you're curious, here are 10 GMO Ingredients in Candy:
  1. Sugar (GMO Sugar Beets)
  2. High Fructose Corn Syrup (GMO Corn)
  3. Corn Starch (GMO Corn)
  4. Soy Lecithin (GMO Soy)
  5. Soybean Oil (GMO Soy)
  6. Modified Food Starch (GMO Corn)
  7. Fructose, Dextrose, Glucose (GMO Corn)
  8. Cottonseed Oil (GMO Cotton)
  9. Canola Oil (GMO Canola)
  10. “Other” Ingredients (Isolates, Isoflavones, Food Starch, Vegetable Oil)
  I suppose my failed blog idea wasn't such a failure after all. Candy is just one small example of international companies changing their product to reflect the demands of their consumers; in Europe. It's done in many other products including soda, cereal, and other packaged foods.

  Here's my question: why can't American consumers enjoy the same 'luxuries' as European consumers?
Do You Know What GMOs Are? 
The Dangers of GMOs
The Harmful Effects of Soy
GMOs: What Can We Do?
California's Prop 37

There's Nothing Sweet About GMOs Campaign
Going GM-Free. In Europe, But Not the US
Altered Recipes & Risks Associated with GMOs
GM Ingredients in Candy
Labeling Requirements: Europe
California Right to Know


  1. Thanks for the post & for sharing, shared on facebook

    1. Thanks so much! Appreciate you reading, and sharing!

  2. Thank you so much for this blog post! I was getting into a bad habit of eating Hershey's peanut M&M's and the Hershey's kisses. NEVER AGAIN! I'm going to post a link to this article from my FB account. This is very important.

  3. If they can remove GMOs for Europe why not the US? We need to insist on safe practices for our children's sake. Who knowingly would give their child something harmful to them?

  4. If they can remove GMOs for Europe why not the US? We need to insist on safe practices for our children's sake. Who knowingly would give their child something harmful to them?