Camden, NJ—The New York Times reported yesterday that Campbell Soup will become the first major food company to disclose genetically modified organisms (GMO) in its products. Other than its soups, the company is also the maker of brands such as Pepperidge Farms, Prego, Plum Organics and V8. The labeling changes are expected to take 12–18 months.

Campbell is even calling for federal action to make GMO labeling mandatory, which is another major break from most conventional companies favoring the passage of H.R. 1599 before July, when Vermont’s mandatory GMO labeling law takes effect. Ever since the passage of this state legislation, many conventional food companies have lamented that this law would create a patchwork of state labeling laws that would be costly for companies to adhere to.

An example of such a limitation is that the law only applies to products overseen by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Denise Morrison, chief executive of Campbell, explains that labeling on SpaghettiOs must disclose the presence of GMOs because they are under FDA jurisdiction, but SpaghetiiOs with Meatballs fall under the jurisdiction of the Department of Agriculture, thus not requiring those same labels.

Campbell Soup’s actions may serve to have a broad impact on the food industry, if sales and costs remain steady or improve. As organic food and juice blogger Max Goldberg notes on his website, “Not wanting to be left behind, other conventional food corporations will feel compelled to take similar action and will disclose to their customers, as well, if their products contain GMOs. If other companies come on board, this could mean a true federal GMO-labeling bill could become a reality quite soon.”

Published in WholeFoods Magazine February 2016 (Online 1/8/2016)