Whole Foods To Begin Labeling Genetically Modified Products

Though legislative moves to require labels on food products containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have failed, the folks at Whole Foods have decided to step up and announce a plan to sort through all of the items it sells to determine which ones may contain the controversial ingredients.

The plan, announced Friday at Natural Products Expo West, is for Whole Foods to have its entire stock in U.S. and Canadian stores vetted for GMOs by 2018. If an item contains, or may contain GMOs, company co-CEO Walter Robb says it will be labeled accordingly.

“We are putting a stake in the ground on GMO labeling to support the consumer’s right to know,” said Robb. “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. Accordingly, we are stepping up our support of certified organic agriculture, where GMOs are not allowed, and we are working together with our supplier partners to grow our non-GMO supply chain to ensure we can continue to provide these choices in the future.”

Since 2009, the grocery chain has been certifying its own line of 365 Everyday Value products through Non-GMO Project verification. It also claims to currently be selling more certified Non-GMO products than any other North American retailer.

“We believe fundamentally in the customer’s right to know and the right to have the information necessary to make the choices they want to make on the products they want to buy,” says Robb in the video below.

Michael Hansen, Senior Scientist at Consumers Union, calls the announcement, “a good step forward in the marketplace, as it will put pressure on their competitors. And it helps with national call for mandatory labeling.”

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