Starbucks coffee cup with cow

by Amanda Smith, Associate Editor

The non-GMO movement is knocking on Starbucks' doors. A staple on street corners and in airports, the high-value coffee chain is being pressured to serve only organic milk and cut ties with companies supplying milk produced by cows fed GMOs (genetically modified organisms).

Green America's GMO Inside launched the campaign March 4, fresh off its Cheerios' success. Cheerios' decision came after an onslaught of 50,000 Facebook comments, along with 35,000 letters and phone calls. In that campaign, it convinced General Mills to announce it would use non-GMO ingredients. The reality is that Cheerios' main ingredient – oats – doesn't have a GMO variety.

Its latest venture targets what is by far a leader in the coffee industry with nearly 20,000 retail stores in 60-plus countries. GMO Inside is hoping Starbucks follows the same pattern.

On its website, GMO Inside plays fast and loose with facts, claiming alfalfa as a grain, stating the land degradation properties of GMO crops and manages to tie in the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria into its message.

Starbucks has already made the commitment to using only rBHG-free dairy and USDA certified organic soy milk. Those at GMO Inside encourage the market leader to set the same organic standard for dairy milk, which they feel "demonstrates a serious commitment to providing environmentally and social conscious products."

The coffee giant switched to BST free in 2008, responding to consumer and investor concerns.

After consumption, there is no remaining GMO-based DNA in postdigested food or secreted milk. To date, an estimated 180 billion food animals raised in the U.S. and EU have eaten GMOs with no documented effects.

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