Here is their response:
March 8, 2010
Thank you for your interest in Del Monte Foods' policy regarding food biotechnology and its products (sometimes referred to as genetically modified organisms or GMOs).
Currently the main ingredients in our consumer food products (fruits, vegetables and tomatoes) are not sourced from materials grown through the use of food biotechnology. However, due to the wide range of products that we produce, and the many hundreds of different ingredients used in our recipes, some minor ingredients may be derived from or combined with other ingredients that do make use of biotechnology.
The use of biotechnology is very common among certain crops in the U.S., such as soybeans and corn, because it improves crop productivity and enables the grower to use fewer chemicals, and to conserve land and water. As a result, ingredients made from soy or corn, such as soybean oil, corn starches, etc. may contain ingredients derived through biotechnology. Similarly, our pet products, which generally contain soy and/or corn, may contain ingredients derived from biotechnology.
Years of testing and scientific consensus by such organizations as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the American Medical Association have demonstrated the safety of genetically modified foods. In fact, the FDA has concluded that foods derived through food biotechnology are the same and, therefore, as safe as other foods in their nutrition, composition and use. The FDA has also concluded that foods from biotechnology do not require a special labeling statement or declaration because these foods are basically the same as those produced by traditional methods.
The American Dietetic Association (ADA) has recently published a position paper in support of food biotechnology which says in part "The ADA encourages the government, food manufacturers, food commodity groups, and qualified food and nutrition professionals to work together to inform consumers about this new technology and encourage availability of these products in the marketplace." To read the entire paper, visit the ADA website at www.eatright.org and select "Position Papers".
Food safety has always been, and will continue to be, Del Monte’s primary concern. We appreciate the opportunity to respond and assure you that Del Monte will continue to closely monitor this complex issue.
Pat, Del Monte Foods Consumer Affairs
My response to it:
Thank you for your response. I understand how difficult to it is say something is not genetically modified, especially when multiple ingredients come from various sources.
I do need to correct a part of your statement. The FDA and USDA have not conducted extensive tests to prove that bio-engineered foods GMOs are safe. In fact, outside studies show them to be more harmful than the same foods with added herbicides and/or pesticides (at levels higher than the GMOs). There is a reason GMOs were so strongly opposed in Europe. Extensive studies were done there.
I will avoid soy, corn, and canola. For now I will continue to buy your tomato products but I will switch to any manufacturer who will put on their label "GMO-Free" or its equivalent.
This is very important. The public and it seems your company as well has been greatly misinformed on this topic. I will pass on this information online.
I will contact ADA and see how they concluded that GMOs are safe.
It wasn't straightforward and I did a bit of digging to find the article from ADA. It took a bit of searching for the news release but basically it's not much about information. Here's the entire article at http://www.eatright.org/About/Content.aspx?id=8359
Agricultural and Food Biotechnology
Volume 106, Issue 2, Pages 285-293 (February 2006)
It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that agricultural and food biotechnology techniques can enhance the quality, safety, nutritional value and variety of food available for human consumption, and increase the efficiency of food production, food processing, food distribution and environmental and waste management. The American Dietetic Association encourages the government, food manufacturers, food commodity groups and qualified food and nutrition professionals to work together to inform consumers about this new technology and encourage the availability of these products in the marketplace.
* Note from the Association Positions Committee: In October 2007, APC surveyed ADA membership to determine whether members support the position statement and the position paper and whether they find the position paper useful. After reviewing the survey results, APC concluded that the paper contains much "sound" information, but it needs to be updated to reflect current federal regulations and it needs to provide insight into the diversity of interpretation of research and the need for more research. The position paper will be revised using the ADA evidence analysis process before the paper's expiration on December 31, 2010.
I emailed ADA the copy of Del Monte's response along with:
It was not easy to find this but if I'm reading this correctly, it just means that the majority of your members believe that GMOs are good? From 2006?
What studies were done? And by whom? Or was this some general consensus? Did anyone do any research at all on this topic? Please be sure of what you endorse. GMOs are not the way to a better life, in fact, it's not only poisoning us but causing great economical hardships where it's been introduced. This is big business and your group may be associated on the wrong side of what your mission statement is.
This was on March 9th and as of today, March 12th, I've not heard back from either Del Monte or the ADA. It really irritates me that the ADA is being used this way.
Like this post to subscribe to the topic.