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Whole Foods First to Require Labeling of Genetically Modified Food
Austin-based Whole Foods Market has laid down the gauntlet in the national labeling wars. It says by 2018 all products sold in its U.S. and Canadian stores must be labeled to indicate whether they contain GMOs, or genetically modified organisms.
For years, Whole Foods has worked with suppliers to provide products that are free of genetically modified ingredients. Genetic modification alters the makeup of cells and other biologically important chemicals, producing new combinations of genes and traits that do not occur in nature. Foods that contain GMOs, do not meet the standards for certified organic agriculture.
Louise Hemstead, the COO of Organic Valley says, "You've got the consistency with the organic rules with how the land is treated, how the animals are treated and the results that come out in the food."
Currently 22 states have some sort of pending labeling legislation. A California ballot proposition requiring GMO labeling was defeated in November in part due to a huge advertising campaign led by Monsanto and DuPont, who both oppose such legislation.
Supporters of GMOs say the engineering leads to increased yields and lower prices worldwide. They also fear a backlash by retailers could lead shoppers to believe foods that include GMOs are less healthy. Whole Foods says they want complete transparency for their customers
For more information on GMOs, visit Whole Food Market’s FAQs on GMOs page.