I recently read an article on the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) website - Santa Cruz Organics Supports GMOs. Santa Cruz Organics (parent company J.M. Smucker's) was recently queried by OCA about their stance on GMOs (genetically modified organisms). The July 14, 2011 response from their customer relations department smacked of corporate double talk, did not answer the question and pulled out the FDA and USDA "cloak of protection" justification. Please see the original letter here: http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_23708.cfm
As a purchaser of organic foods, the MAIN reason being that I want to avoid GMOs at all cost, I was angered by their lackadaisical non-answer. I quickly pulled up the Santa Cruz Organics website and sent off a nice little note letting them know that I was very displeased with what I read in the CS letter and that I wanted further confirmation that they were not allowing GMO products to cross-contaminate the organic products. In order to be labeled "organic" there are very strict guidelines as to what and what cannot be included in a product. Any and all GMO is strictly forbidden, or at least that is what we have been led to believe.
On August 8, 2011, I received the following response:
Thank you for contacting Santa Cruz Organic®. Our products are manufactured using strict quality control procedures that meet or exceed all applicable government and industry standards.
Smucker Natural Foods, Inc. cares about the health and safety of our consumers. We have taken great care to provide products that are made with high quality and wholesome ingredients.
We have established a documentation program for all of our natural products and their respective ingredients, with the goal of utilizing only ingredients grown and produced without the use of biotechnology.
Smucker Natural Foods, Inc. has an extensive documentation program verifying that suppliers of our organic raw materials meet the requirements of the National Organic Program.
Our consumers can be assured that we are in full compliance with existing Federal regulations and policies with respect to food labeling and product safety. We will continue to monitor this situation and comply with any future regulations.
If you should have further questions or need additional information, please visit us at www.scojuice.com or contact us at 888-569-6994, Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.
Consumer Relations Representative
Once again, a non-answer! Nowhere does it state that they are doing anything to prevent the cross-contamination of products that was disclosed in the first CS response. Typically, they have chosen to use the corporate psycho-babble response about what their organization supposedly "does". We all know that shortcuts are taken, mistakes are made and the fact that they obviously process BOTH GMO and non-GMO products in the same facility tells me that they know that cross-contamination occurs and are obviously not going to do anything about it. Santa Cruz Organics has just been added to my "do not buy" list.
I feel certain that Jerome Monroe (J.M.) Smucker is rolling around in his grave at what his company has become. I wonder what the small town farmer from Orrville, Ohio would say today?