Your Valentine's Day Candy May Be Filled With GMOs

Most popular Valentine's Day candies include GMO-risk ingredients. Take a stand this year and say no to GMOs in your Valentine's Day candy.

| February 7, 2013

  • Valentine's Day Candy
    Make homemade treats or buy organic certified or Non-GMO Project Verified chocolate in order to avoid genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in your Valentine's Day candy.
    Photo By Fotolia/ Kati Molin

  • Valentine's Day Candy

Reposted with permission from GMO Inside. 

What will you get your loved one this Valentine’s Day? If genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in chocolates are not on your shopping list, you will want to know about GMO Inside's new push to get the nation’s largest candy manufacturers — Hershey and Mars — to break up with GMOs in 2013.

GMO Inside, a campaign dedicated to advancing the right of consumers to know whether or not foods are genetically engineered, is calling on Hershey and Mars to either stop putting GMOs in Valentines candy and other products … or to start labeling the products as containing GMOs.

Hershey and Mars combined comprise nearly 70 percent of the U.S. chocolate market. The two companies are not shy about their love affair with GMOs; together they spent more than a million dollars to oppose GMO labeling in California in the November 2012 election. Hershey is reported to have spent $518,900 to defeat Prop 37 and Mars spent $498,350.

The reason these companies oppose GMO labeling so strongly is due to the fact that GMO ingredients are in their sweets; a label would surely make a consumer think twice about eating their favorite candy bar.

For example, these popular candies contain the following GMO-risk ingredients:

  • Reese’s Peanut Butter filled Hearts (Hershey) contain sugar, soy lecithin, and cornstarch
  • Hershey Hugs contain sugar, soy lecithin and corn syrup solids
  • Valentine’s Colored M&M’s (Mars) contain sugar, soy lecithin, cornstarch, and corn syrup
  • Valentine’s Snickers (Mars) contain soy lecithin, corn syrup, sugar, and partially hydrogenated soybean oil

GMO Inside also released a "Valentine’s Day Villains" shopping guide for consumers who want to avoid GMOs treats for their Valentines. Go to to get a list of candies to watch out for and also some non-GMO alternatives for your loved one

Genetically modified organisms have never been proven safe for consumption, and a growing body of studies is raising concerns around the health effects of eating them. GMOs are also increasing the use of toxic herbicides and causing harm to farmers in the US and abroad.

In Europe, where genetically modified ingredients are already required to be labeled, Hershey and Mars have adapted their recipes to formulate Kisses and M&Ms without GMOs. According to Confectionery News, Hershey products made for distribution in Europe will be formulated without GMO ingredients, in order to meet the requirements of major retailers which ban the sale of products with genetically modified ingredients and to satisfy increasing consumer concern about the safety of GMOs.

"Unless you can buy Hershey or Mars products in Europe, there is a high chance you could be giving your Valentine a treat with GMOs that endanger their health and the environment," said GMO Inside Campaign Director Elizabeth O’Connell, "To be safe, you should choose organic certified or Non-GMO Project Verified chocolate to show the loved ones in your life you really care."

Beyond the issue of GMOs, Hershey also has problems with child labor in the cocoa it sources. Though the company committed to certify its supply chain as 100 percent sustainable in October of 2012, there has been no further information about how the company plans to deliver on its promise to remove forced child labor from its supply chain over the next seven years.

"Consumers have a choice — there is delicious chocolate from companies that are organic or verified through the Non-GMO Project, said Alisa Gravitz, president of Green America. "And you can make it doubly sweet by also looking for fair trade options. You'll be showing your sweetheart you care in every way. Refuse to buy GMO-laden chocolate this Valentine's Day."

Consumers interested in speaking out to Hershey and Mars can sign an online petition at  

Consumers interested in non-GMO chocolate choices can use GMO Inside’s Valentine’s Day Villains shopping guide.

There will also be various actions on Facebook over the next week so be sure to friend GMO Inside on Facebook to follow along.

2/3/2014 12:20:31 PM

The problem with cornstarch is that unless its organic or non-GMO, it will be made with GMO corn, which has had a certain soil bacteria inserted into the DNA of the corn plant. This bacteria has been linked to bad allergies and other health problems because it kills off your good intestinal bacteria, not a good thing. The food companies know this but keep using GMO corn and soy because they are cheap, not because they are good for people. Before GMO corn and soy were created, companies used ordinary, non-GMO crops in food. Everyone has the right to choose what they want to eat, but when GMO products are not labelled, those who don't want the problems from eating them have an unfair challenge.

2/3/2014 9:00:17 AM

I checked my peanut butter cups that I still have from Christmas and they list all the ingredients so what is the problem. I like them and I'll eat them every now and then. We don't need the government or other agencies trying to warn us about what we eat. Everyone likes gravy, so what's wrong with cornstarch? Been eating it for over 50 years and there's nothing wrong with me. I'm very healthy. I also happen to like sugar on my grapefruit and cereal. Can't imagine what these people think is wrong with it. I imagine the only way any of these things can hurt you is if you eat to much candy or gravy for that matter. I'd be more worried about becoming overweight or rotting my teethe.



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