Learn About: GMOs

Many consumers are curious about foods made from genetically engineered crops, commonly called GMOs (genetically modified organisms). They may wonder whether a favorite product we make contains GMOs. Sometimes they ask for our thoughts on GMOs.

We have paid close attention to this topic for over 20 years. We want to share what we have learned. And we want to provide the information consumers are most curious about, such as whether our products include ingredients sourced from GMO crops.

Wheat farm

What is Unilever’s position on using GMOs?

Our job is to bring you safe, delicious and nutritious foods that meet high quality standards at a good value.  For those who are looking for non-GMO options, we point to our selection of products (PDF | 346KB) that are either non-GMO sourced, certified organic, or made with ingredients that do not have a genetically modified version

Here's what makes us confident about the safety of foods made from GMO crops:

  1. Foods from GMO crops must meet the same U.S. Food & Drug Administration food safety requirements as non-GMO foods.  The FDA has reviewed the safety of every GMO food crop currently available and states:  “Credible evidence has demonstrated that foods from the genetically engineered plant varieties marketed to date are as safe as comparable, non-genetically engineered foods.”
  2. Leading public health organizations from around the world that study the safety of our food supply  – including the World Health Organization, American Medical Association, and the National Academy of Sciences – have found that foods from authorized GMO crops are as safe as those from non-GMO crops.

What is a GMO crop and how common is their use?

Genetic engineering is a way to improve crops and refers to modern scientific methods of making precise changes to a plant’s genetic makeup to give it desirable traits, according to the FDA. These traits most commonly help farmers grow crops more efficiently, which makes food more abundant and affordable.

Farmers have produced GMO crops for over 20 years. The majority of cropland is planted with GMO seed, according to the USDA, and it is estimated that 70-80% of foods in the U.S. have ingredients produced from GMO crops. That’s because North American farmers widely use GMO seeds for many of the most common crops foods are made from, including more than 90% of all canola, corn, cotton, soybean and sugar beet, according to USDA and agriculture industry statistics.

Which ingredients are made from GMO crops?

We know some shoppers want to know what specific ingredients are made from GMO crops. The SmartLabel GMO disclosure ["This product includes ingredients sourced from genetically engineered (GE) crops, commonly known as GMOs."] indicates our product has one or more ingredients sourced from an available GMO canola, corn, cotton, soybean or sugar beet crop.  The ingredients made from these crops, when used, are commonly listed on the label as follows:

Canola 

CANOLA OIL, RAPESEED OIL

Corn 
CARAMEL COLOR, CORN FLOUR, CORN GERM, CORN OIL, CORN STARCH, CORN SYRUP, CORN SYRUP SOLIDS, DEXTRIN, DEXTROSE, FRUCTOSE, FRUCTOSE SOLIDS, GLUCOSE, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, HYDROLYZED CORN PROTEIN, INVERT SUGAR, MALTITOL SYRUP, MALTODEXRIN, MODIFIED CORN STARCH

Cotton 
COTTONSEED OIL

Soybean
DISTILLED MONOGLYCERIDES, ENZYME MODIFIED SOY PROTEIN, FERMENTED SOYBEANS, HYDROLYZED SOY PROTEIN, MEDIUM CHAIN TRIGLYCERIDES, MODIFIED SOY PROTEIN, DIGLYCERIDES, MONOGLYCERIDES, SOY FLAKES, SOY LECITHIN, SOY SAUCE, SOYBEAN OIL, TOCOPHEROLS

Sugar Beet 
SUGAR, SUGAR BEET JUICE, SUGAR BEET JUICE CONCENTRATE, BROWN SUGAR, LIQUID SUGAR, MOLASSES


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