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As You Sow Planting Seeds For Social Change


Heinz is one of the most recognized names among American food products. As You Sow was an active participant in the ICCR - Heinz dialogue from 2000 - 2003 when shareholders ended the dialogue after the company made significant efforts to eliminate genetically engineered ingredients from its products. Heinz was one the first U.S. companies to publicly address the issue of GMO foods by guaranteeing that its baby foods would be GMO-free.

By 2002 Heinz completed an internal survey and released this statement: "We have investigated the source of all of our ingredients and reformulated, where necessary, our product range to eliminate GM [genetically engineered] content".

Heinz's transparency on this issue was matched by its willingness to engage in frank dialogue with shareholders on the workings of the food industry and the purchasing and marketing challenges relating to GMO ingredients. For example, the company reformulated genetically engineered ingredients in many of its products but would still not label its U.S. products due to the lack of crop segregation and the possibility of contamination.

The company's decision to actively and publicly address this issue allowed it to receive the benefits of consumer loyalty and investor confidence, as well as avoid the negative press generated by grassroots groups targeting those companies that hid from this issue.

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