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Majority of McCormick spices to be converted to organic, non-GMO by 2016

McCormick spices

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(NaturalNews) McCormick, the world's largest spice company, has its sights set on going almost entirely organic and non-GMO by 2016. The announcement comes on the heels of many other large food outlets jumping on the organic and non-GMO bandwagon and is also representative of consumers' increased demands for healthier options.

According to a press release, people can expect to see several changes to most of the company's herbs and spices over the next year.

The press release states the following:

McCormick is making several important changes to its portfolio over the next 12 months. The company announced that 80% of its Gourmet herbs & spices business in the U.S. will be Organic and Non-GMO by 2016. Additionally over 70% of all McCormick branded herbs, spices and extracts in the U.S. will be labeled Non-GMO. Most of McCormick's herbs & spices are currently Non-GMO. The company will begin to label Non-GMO products to help consumers at the point of sale as part of its commitment to transparency and educating consumers about the category. This move is the first announcement under McCormick's new quality consumer education initiative. Non-GMO Vanilla extract will be the first to hit store shelves and has already begun shipping.

"Our consumers are increasingly interested in quality flavors with pure ingredients in their food," says Lawrence Kurzius, McCormick's President and Chief Operating Officer. "Our effort to increase our Organic and Non-GMO offerings proves that we are listening to consumers and are committed to continuing to evolve."

Another plus: McCormick doesn't use irradiation

The news has also put the company in the spotlight for one of its healthy current practices. Unlike several other spice companies, McCormick does not use irradiation to make spices safer for consumers. McCormick instead uses steam treatments to help preserve the spices' health benefits.

Irradiation is an ionizing radiation technology which, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), "...improves the safety and extends the shelf life of foods by reducing or eliminating microorganisms and insects." While the FDA notes on its web site that irradiating food is safe, other findings beg to differ.

One such report is from the Public Citizen, which highlights various studies that make the case against food irradiation. Mostly citing studies published in noted journals in which animals were fed irradiated foods, the information details the link between the technology and health horrors such as fatal internal bleeding, the discovery of radioactivity in urine samples, and growth retardation.

Evidence that health-conscious wave is sweeping nation

McCormick's health-minded announcement mimics that of many other food corporations over the past year or so. For example, Panera announced that by the end of 2016, all artificial additives will be removed from its food. In fact, they even created a "No-No List" in which the public can view the rundown of the foods that will be changing for the better. For example, the cellulose gel that once existed in their poppy seed dressing is no longer being used, as is the titanium dioxide that used to be in their tomato mozzarella flatbread.

The list of companies getting on board with better health goes on.

Chipotle has gone 100 percent GMO-free. General Mills, makers of Trix cereal, have plans to rid the cereal of its green and blue colors in favor of healthier coloring options that come from fruits and vegetables such as strawberries and radishes. Add to all of this the fact that numerous restaurants now provide consumers with the calorie content of many foods, often highlighting meals they feel are particularly healthy, and it's easy to see that health awareness is becoming a chief concern for many people.

Let's hope companies like McCormick continue to maintain their healthy practices and that the ones that have yet to do so quickly follow in their footsteps in order to build a healthier society and boost consumer loyalty.

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