Campbell Soup says it supports federal legislation that would establish a national labeling standard for products containing genetically modified ingredients.
The maker of Pepperidge Farm cookies and Prego sauces says it will withdraw its support from various groups and coalitions opposing such labeling. Labeling over genetically modified ingredients has become a contested issue in recent years.
States have tried addressing the issue and Vermont passed legislation requiring food makers to disclose when products contain genetically modified ingredients by July.
Campbell says it opposes a patchwork of state-by-state laws that it believes "are are incomplete, impractical and create unnecessary confusion for consumers," the company said in a press release.
"With 92 percent of Americans supporting the labeling of GMO foods, Campbell believes now is the time for the federal government to act quickly to implement a federal solution," Campbell said.
If a federal labeling standard isn't established in a "reasonable amount of time," Campbell says it will label its products to disclose the presence of GMOs. About three-quarters of the company's products have GMO ingredients.
Campbell, based in Camden, N.J., provided an image of a Spaghetti-Os can with a label complying with the Vermont legislation. On the back of the can in small print, the disclosure stated "Partially produced with genetic engineering."
In the meantime, the number of products stamped with a voluntary "non-GMO" label from a third-party group has proliferated as the issue has gained more attention among consumers. The label, which is more prominently displayed on the front of packages, has become a marketing tool in some cases.
PepsiCo, for instance, has said it will start labeling some of Tropicana juices as "non-GMO," even though genetically modified oranges do not exist.