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NMPF Leads Effort to Fight Misleading Marketing Claims by Food Companies

November 16, 2016

In a strongly-worded letter sent last month to Dannon's U.S. office, NMPF and five other national farming organizations challenged the yogurt company’s misleading marketing claims about the sustainability of modern farming practices. NMPF chairman Randy Mooney signed a letter sent October 17 to Dannon CEO Mariano Lozano, rejecting Dannon’s assertion that the company’s yogurt will be more sustainably produced by eliminating the use of crop biotechnology.

The letter – also signed by leaders from the American Farm Bureau Federation, American Soybean Association, American SugarBeet Growers Association, National Corn Growers Association, and US Farmers and Ranchers Alliance – said that consumers are being misled by these specious marketing claims. The groups said there is overwhelming evidence that crop biotechnology improves sustainability by greatly reducing the environmental impact of agriculture. 

The letter is the beginning of efforts by agriculture group to communicate across the food industry, including to consumers, on the value and importance of GMOs, and the need to hold food marketers accountable for a lack of truthfulness and transparency in how some companies position their ingredient sourcing practices. A week after sending the letter to Dannon, the coalition of farm groups announced plans for a “Straight Talk” initiative to engage the food sector in a dialogue on sustainable agriculture production, the marketing practices used to reach consumers, and the intersection of both trends.

In a discussion last month with reporters, NMPF Chairman Randy Mooney said that “if Dannon wants to give consumers what they describe as ‘more natural and sustainable eating options,’ then they should be cheering agriculture biotechnology, not demonizing it. Dannon should be standing on the side of science, and communicating honestly with consumers about modern food production.”