Whole Foods Market, the eighth largest food and drug store in the U.S. has announced that by 2018, all products sold in U.S. and Canada stores must be labeled if they contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Whole Foods currently provides customers with the choice of over 3,300 Non-GMO products from 250 brands which is more than any other retailer in North America. While we agree with other groups that want Whole Foods to accelerate their commitment to 2015, we also applaud the company for its leadership.
This is huge news coming just a few months after the California citizen’s initiative (Proposition 37) that would have mandated clear labeling of genetically engineered ingredients on food packages was defeated. With interest in GMO labeling around the country now at an all time high, recent polls have shown that more than 82 percent of Americans want full GMO transparency making it mandatory to label GMOs.
Here in the U.S. we are lagging behind 60 nations that already require the labeling of GMOs. With more than 340 stores throughout the UK, Canada and 39 states in the United States, Whole Foods is the first national grocery store to set a deadline for GMO labeling in the U.S. This was largely due to pressure from consumers in California and around the country who simply want to exercise their right to know what’s in their food. Consumer pressure has also led 20 states around the U.S. to consider ballot initiatives and legislation to label GMOs.
“We are putting a stake in the ground on GMO labeling to support the consumer’s right to know. 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,” said Walter Robb, co-CEO of Whole Foods Market.
Greenpeace is actively working around the world to support agriculture that is good for the planet and people. We are excited to see Whole Foods take an initial lead and are looking forward to many more supermarkets to follow suit. To see if a state initiative to label GMOs is present where you live visit: http://justlabelit.org