Monday, July 13, 2009

Whole Foods Joins Growing List Of Retailers With Non-GMO Labels

Good news! Many Whole Foods' private label brands (e.g. "365 Every Day Value") will bear a Non-GMO seal (shown to the left) this October, if everything goes as planned.1 Whole Foods has partnered with the Non-GMO Project, a private, not-for-profit certifier of foods free from genetically engineered ingredients (mostly).

Some products from retailers shown to the right will also bear the seal. Visit for a complete list of products and retailers that endorse the Non-GMO Project's certification.

Why choose Non-GMO?

The FDA does not require labels on foods that contain genetically engineered (GE) ingredients, claiming they are "substantially equivalent" to non-bioengineered foods. However, use of genetically engineered crops have profound environmental and human-health impacts, especially related to pesticide use. Also, although the FDA considers GE foods "no different" from their non-GE counterparts, there has not been adequate testing for their long-term health effects.

Chemicals used on GMO crops (genetically engineered to resist the chemicals, or to make their own pesticides) promote development of pests and other invasive insects and plants that are resistant to these chemicals, requiring their increased use.

These chemicals are a public health problem - on the farm, in the environment, on our plates:
"The human health impacts linked to pesticide exposure range from birth defects and childhood brain cancer in the very young, to Parkinson's’ Disease in the elderly. In between are a variety of other cancers, developmental and neurological disorders, reproductive and hormonal system disruptions, and more."
- What's On My Food?
It's encouraging to see US businesses jumping on the GMO-labeling wagon, a wagon most of the developed world has boarded (a wagon the US government has avoided):
"In 30 other countries around the world, including Australia, Japan and all of the nations in the European Union, there are significant restrictions or outright bans on the production of GMOs, due to environmental impact and concerns about GMO safety."
- Megan Thompson, executive director of the Non-GMO Project

1 Whole Foods Press Release, July 7:
Whole Foods Market® Partners with Non-GMO Project to Label Company’s Private Label Food Products Using New Third-Party Standard


Steve Parker, M.D. said...

First off, I'll admit I haven't studied the GMO issue in detail.

Just be aware that the "non-GMO" label and movement may simply be a marketing ploy.

If a crop can be modified to produce it's own pesticides - that's not necessarily bad. In fact, it sound like a plus to me. We're growing food for humans, not bugs. We're more important than the bugs.

Bryant Weber said...

Eating pesticides whether applied by hand on GM supplied doesn't sound like a good idea to me. I at least want to know what is in the food I am buying. European standards call for GMO labeling and I think so should the US. IF it is harmless as advertised labeling can't hurt. I do wonder why there is such resistance to labeling?

Bix said...

In that non-GMOs are not necessarily organic, it's a marketing tool. Regardless, I see it as a positive move.

From what I've read about transgenic crops, things like Bt corn and Bt cotton, I'm not convinced they're benign.

Bix said...

BTW, the documentary, "The World According To Monsanto" is available on YouTube, in 10 parts:

Perovskia said...

Bryant.. regarding your comment, "IF it is harmless as advertised labeling can't hurt." That's the problem. It *isn't* harmless and that's why they're not doing it. I think they know (or at least fear) people will turn away these foods. But then, there will always be someone who accepts them (the lower class who can't afford better) and then there are people who will buy better quality produce (and/or organic) in defiance, which will start another trend, and so on and so on.

Sorry, rambled.