Feb 01, 2019 • By

Leading on public policy for the greater good

What does a food maker have to say about laws and regulations?

For General Mills, the answer is, well, plenty.

For more than 150 years, General Mills has been serving the world by Making Food People Love. During that time, we have been engaged in our communities working to make them better places. While many people think of philanthropy or volunteerism when they think of community involvement, for General Mills, engaging in public policy is also a long-standing part of how we help make communities better places.

“I can show you company newsletters from the 1920s where General Mills was encouraging our employees to vote, to be engaged,” says Mary Catherine Toker, vice president of Global Government and Public Affairs for General Mills. “Whether it was partnering with U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower to help launch the President’s Fitness Challenge in the 1950s or answering the call from the U.S. government to help ensure food safety for astronauts, General Mills has been an active participant in public affairs.”


Today, our focus is closer to home, and in some cases, beneath our feet. As a company that relies on the earth to produce our ingredients, we aren’t shy about recommending public resources be dedicated to programs to enhance soil health and regenerative agriculture. We stand up for strong organic standards and support policies to address climate change because we believe that our voice can have an impact.Public-policy-collage

And now General Mills has a new tool to share that voice – a webpage detailing how we pursue public engagement for the greater good.

Our engagement is focused on five areas that are important to our company and our communities:

  • Protecting and Preserving our Planet
  • Delivering Nutrition
  • Ensuring Safe Food
  • Increasing Food Security and Strengthening Communities
  • Informing Consumers and Increasing Awareness

On the site, we provide details about the issues where General Mills has taken a position on public policy and links to our comments, all in one place.

Some examples:

  • General Mills called on Congress to support funding for soil health and regenerative agriculture programs.
  • We have publicly called for the U.S. to remain in the Paris Climate Accord, and have publicly supported the U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan. We’ve also supported clean energy and water conservation policy in several states.
  • General Mills promotes policies to increase packaging recycling rates and reduce waste, and advocates for policy changes at the state and federal level to achieve these goals.
  • We’ve publicly supported strong Dietary Guidelines for Americans (letter).
  • We strongly support the Food Safety Modernization Act, the largest revamp of U.S. food safety laws in seven decades.
  • We are strong partners with several initiatives to advance state policies to increase food security, including Share Our Strength, the Food Research & Action Center and the Hunger Partnership of the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  • General Mills supports inclusive U.S. immigration policy as members of the New American Economy.
  • We support inclusive LGBT public policy as longtime supporters of the Equality Act.
  • We’ve worked with several groups to support having more information about bioengineered ingredients available to consumers, not less (here).

We’ll keep adding to this site, as the number of important issues impacting our company and our communities is only growing.

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