GMO Inside, a national coalition led by advocacy group, Green America, is calling on top Greek-style yogurt brand, Chobani to stop marketing its products as “real” and “natural” until it switches to verified non-genetically modified milk sources. GMO Inside is asking Chobani’s consumers to sign a petition urging the company to use milk from cows that have not been fed GMO alfalfa and grains–a common practice in conventionally raised dairy products. The coalition is also asking consumers to take action by visiting Chobani’s Facebook page and leaving urgent messages. Thousands have already done so.
“Demand for non-GMO foods is growing every day, but for even the most careful consumer it can be very difficult to know which products are affected by GMOs,” said GMO Inside Campaign Director Elizabeth O’Connell. “Chobani has an opportunity to be a leader amongst meat and dairy companies by listening to its customers and ensuring its cows are given non-GMO food.”
Chobani awarded USDA contract
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently awarded Chobani a contract to supply four states (New York, Arizona, Idaho and Tennessee) with its Greek-style yogurt for the federal agency’s school lunch pilot program. Chobani’s yogurt will be served to students as part of the pilot program starting in September 2013. The pilot program will test how cost effective it is to offer Greek yogurt, which is high in protein, in the school lunch programs feeding 31 million students across the country. If it is successful in the four trial states, Greek yogurt could permanently become part of the USDA Foods List for school meals.
GMO feed very common on industrial farms
The chances are great that the milk used for the company’s products comes from cows that eat GMO feed. Cows raised on industrial farms eat GMO feed two to three times a day. The GMO feed consists of GMO corn, soy, alfalfa, cotton seed and sugar beets, plus synthetic vitamins that may be derived from GMO crops. A total of 98 percent of GMO soy and 49 percent of GMO corn is used for livestock and poultry feed. Greek-style yogurt needs a great quantity of milk because it is strained more than regular yogurt. It takes about four ounces of milk to make just one ounce of Greek-style yogurt.
A recently published study on pigs fed a mixture of GMO soy and GMO corn found the GMO feed to be associated with gastric and uterine differences in pigs. The pigs fed GMO feed had a higher rate of severe stomach inflammation, particularly males, and the weight of the uterus in females was found to be heavier. The researchers analyzed the pigs for 22.7 weeks, the normal lifespan of a commercial pig from weaning to slaughter, with equal numbers of male and female pigs.