Whole Foods to Label All GMO Products

by | Mar 12, 2013

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All products sold at Whole Foods Market stores containing genetically modified organisms will clearly labeled within five years, the grocery chain has announced.

This makes the company the first national grocery chain to set a deadline for what it terms “full GMO transparency.” Up to the 2018 deadline, Whole Foods says it will work in collaboration with its suppliers as they transition to sourcing non-GMO ingredients or to clearly labeling products with ingredients containing GMOs.

The five-year lead time is due to the complexities surrounding GMO products, the company says. The prevalence of GMOs in the US, coupled with a lack of labeling guidelines makes it very difficult for grocery stores to source non-GMO choices, according to Whole Foods.

Many of Whole Foods’ suppliers are already moving toward non-GMO ingredients and, as such, the company expects to see progress much sooner than the five-year deadline.

For many years, the company has sourced its 365 Everyday Value products to avoid GMOs in their plant-based ingredients. In 2009, it began putting this line through the Non-GMO Project verification program and encouraged its grocery supplier partners to do the same. Whole Foods Market currently sells 3,300 Non-GMO Project verified products from 250 brands, more than any other retailer in North America, the company says.

A survey released this month by Market Dynamics LOHAS and Laz PR found that shoppers have moved past ingredient lists and are now focused on seeking out non-genetically modified and sustainable “farm to table” products. The survey showed that consumers are also increasing the money they spend on such products.

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