Whole Foods mandates GMO labeling by 2018

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Whole Foods has announced mandatory GMO labeling of all products in U.S. and Canada stores by 2018 if they contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs). This is the first national grocery store to set a deadline from GMO labeling in the industry.

This is a significant milestone by Whole Foods in the clear identification of GMOs in everyday foods, both for retailers and consumers. The prevalence of GMOs in the U.S. paired with nonexistent mandatory labeling makes it very difficult for retailers to source non-GMO options, and for consumers to choose non-GMO products.

Genetically modified organism have been manipulated through genetic engineering by introducing changes into DNA structure. The purpose of doing so is to make the crops grow faster and more resistant to pests. The problem is that there is no data when it comes to long term effect on human health…

A recent poll by The Huffington Post in partnership with YouGov found that a huge majority (82%) of Americans want labels for GMO food. As Gary Hirshberg, the Chairman of Stonyfield Yogurt’s board of directors and founding partner of the Just Label It campaign put it in a recent blog for The Huffington Post: “Our government’s failure to require labeling, and to be engaged in developing the science supporting GE food risk assessment is an absolute breach of its responsibility to the American public. There are in fact lots of reasons to label these foods: health and environmental concerns, ethical/religious views or just because people want to know. In fact, Mellman research shows 92% of citizens want the right to know with no meaningful statistical difference between men and women, Republicans and Democrats, urban and rural communities, education level or any demographic.”

This announcement comes at a time where interest in GMO labeling is at an all-time high. During the November 2012 election, a mandatory GMO labeling initiative , Prop 37, was introduced, and defeated in California, thanks to Millions of dollars poured in from various corporations such as Monsanto and PepsiCo against the ballot measure.

Along with that announcement comes, indirectly yet very clearly, Whole Foods’ reinforced support of certified organic agriculture. Whole Foods has been selling non-GMO foods for years. For example, any certified organic food cannot be made using GMO crops.


Credit photo: Reed Saxon/Associated Press
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* Up for some thought-sharing on this topic?  

– The core of the debate is about education and choice. Consumers should be able to easily and clearly get educated on the subject  so they can choose for themselves if they want to buy and eat GMO foods.

– The bottom line is: without labeling, consumers are completely in the dark. The FDA can label GE foods and the vast majority of consumers want them to be labeled so it only makes sense that Whole Foods, being a big retailer provider of organic items (= non GMO) takes the lead on GMO labeling.

. Do you know what GMOs are and do you buy and eat them?

. Do you think it is easy to bring the necessary education to the American consumers?

. Who should take the lead on this?

Let us know… 

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