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Smart Balance Dumps GMO Oils from Its Line of 15 Buttery Spreads

For Related Articles and More Information, Please Visit OCA's Genetic Engineering Page and our Millions Against Monsanto Page.

Boulder-based Smart Balance announced Monday that it has stopped using genetically modified ingredients in its 15 buttery spreads and hopes to be a catalyst for change in the food industry.

"I think we are the first mainstream brand to make this conversion," Stephen Hughes, chairman and CEO of Smart Balance Brands parent Boulder Brands, said in an interview. "I think if we are successful, others will follow."

Non-GMO labeled Smart Balance will begin showing up on retailers' shelves within 30 days, and the entire product-line conversion should be complete within 90 days, Hughes said.

Smart Balance accounts for 13-14 percent of the buttery-spread market nationwide and about 20 percent in Denver, Hughes said. The company sells 22 million to 23 million units a year, mostly in 15-ounce tubs.

Hughes said the company is responding to consumer demand.

"Two years ago, non-GMO would not be mentioned by consumers," he said. "Today, 40 percent of our consumers want a GMO-free Smart Balance spread."

Meeting that market will require sourcing about 20 million pounds of oils annually - including soy, palm, olive and canola - that are made from seeds certified not to have been modified using gene-splicing techniques, Hughes said. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, about 93 percent of the 2013 U.S. soybean crop was genetically modified to tolerate herbicides.

Manufacturing plants in Arkansas and California were retooled to keep non-GMO ingredients from being contaminated by those that contain GMOs.

"To have full integrity, we had to have separate tanks, separate lines to feed the production lines," he said. "That work has been going on in the last 12 months. It is not without expense."

Hughes said the increased production costs won't be passed on to consumers.

Smart Balance also has projects underway to convert its other products, including mayonnaise and cooking sprays and oils, to non-GMO ingredients.  


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