As one of the top grocer chains when it comes to natural and organic products, Whole Foods has finally taken action in regards to labeling for GMOs. But what exactly is a GMO, and why is this important?
A GMO, or genetically modified organism, has been manipulated via genetic engineering. In doing so, changes to the structure of the DNA have been made. Products of all kinds can contain GMOs. While there are advocates for GMOs out there, much of the population remains concerned about their safety. To be fair, we should be aware of what is in our food and whether it’s natural or not.
Whole Foods has finally announced that all products in their stores in the U.S. and Canada must be labeled if they contain GMOs by 2018. Of course, this change in production comes at a very interesting time. In November, a vote occurred for Prop 37 which would mandate the labeling of GMOs. However, the initiative didn’t pass to the dismay of many. Even still, a recent poll conducted by The Huffington Post revealed that 82% of Americans would like to see products labeled if they contain these genetically modified organisms. With this outstanding number of people who appear to be concerned or at least curious as to what their foods contain, I think it’s safe to say Whole Foods is the first national grocery store to be taking a step in the right direction.
According to the President of Whole Foods, A.C. Gallo, products with a “non-GMO” label have increased by 15-30% in sales in recent times. Gallo also states that organic products and those without GMOs are the two fastest growing areas when it comes to non-perishable grocers. Again, this shows interest in this kind of labeling as well as non-GMO products in general. And as a chain which boasts natural and organic products, it only seems fitting for Whole Foods to be taking a stance.
While it’s news to us living in North America, the United States and Canada are not the first Whole Foods stores attempting to mandate this type of labeling. In fact, seven stores based in the United Kingdom already require labeling of GMO products, and as a result, most products do not contain those type of genetically modified add ons.
Patty Lovera, a representative of Food and Water Watch (a group that advocates for the environment and consumers), has stated her opinion in that this change by Whole Foods was a “smart move.” She continued to state that, “We’re continuing to work to make this label mandatory because everyone deserves to have that label, not just Whole Foods shoppers…but I think it’s smart on their part to start giving consumers what they want, which is more information.”
So, for Whole Foods, this may be a direction they are heading in. While the grocer is recognized as one containing many organic and natural products, there are items which contain genetically modified organisms at the store. With this labeling initiative, we may soon see results such as what has occurred in the United Kingdom. Products with GMOs may slowly fade away, and Whole Foods could truly go all-natural.
- Elizabeth K.
I desperately wanted Prop 37 to pass. I posted countless Facebook status updates on it, proudly displayed my yard sign, wore a “Vote Yes on Prop 37″ button on my purse, and furiously blogged about it on this very site, but in the end, the money won out. I’ll admit I was pretty down yesterday and feeling a bit lost about where we go from here. Then, I saw this message from one of our followers:
I Woke Up Angry
I’m sure plenty of people are happy that Obama has another 4 years instead of the other guy and his magic underwear but not me. For me these two are too similar (well I’m sure that depends on which version of Mitt you get on any given day) and for me, the only thing I really cared about was PROP 37. I say vote with your wallet!!
These companies will NOT get my money any longer. It will take some time but I will know this list by heart and as difficult as it will be, the Grocery Manufacturers Association will feel my wrath. I may have to drive a little further, plan a little further in advance and pay more, but I will not step foot in or buy from their businesses any longer. My voice is but one, but it’s mine and it will be heard.
You guys keep “fighting the good fight!”
- Just Some Random Guy
At the bottom of his note was link to a list of all the companies that contributed to the No on Prop 37 campaign:
Today, I will walk into an auditorium. I’ll be greeted by several senior-aged volunteers who proudly manage my polling place. They’ll hand me my ballot and direct me to that plastic booth where I’ll fill in the bubbles and cast my vote. As an American and a Californian, I consider voting my right and my duty. When I make my mark for Senator, School Board Member and the President of the United States I am sending a message and making a choice. Yes, the system is flawed. Yes, I wish politics wasn’t so slimy and smeary. But at least I can be part of the process.
I am extremely nervous for tomorrow. As a proud Californian, I will be waiting with fingers and toes crossed to see what happens with Prop 37. Will California once again be the progressive leader for the nation? Will we be the first state to require mandatory labeling of GMOs? I hope we’ve done enough to pass this historical law.
If you haven’t already done so, vote. Unless you’re in a swing state, I understand the “my vote doesn’t count” mantra that many of us deal with when talking about the presidential race. But when it comes to the propositions and local leadership, my vote and your vote absolutely does count.
Join me today. Let’s make history and hopefully, I’ll be celebrating Prop 37′s victory with a glass of local Syrah this evening.
PS. In the off chance you are still undecided about Prop 37, please visit www.CARightToKnow.org.
Troy Roush agrees with the majority of Californians who believe consumers have the right to know what’s in their food. He is in favor of Prop 37 and supports required labeling of genetically modified foods (GMOs). None of this is moving until you find out that Troy is a farmer who grows GMO corn and soybeans. Surprised? I definitely was. Here is Troy’s quote from this 90 second video everyone should see:
“As a farmer, I invite labeling, I encourage labeling, I’d love to see labeling. Labeling is a win for farmers and a win for consumers.”
Feeling warm and fuzzy yet? I love his practical and direct way of looking at this complex issue. Please share and make sure all your California friends, family and colleagues vote YES on Prop 37 in November.
For more information on California Prop 37, visit http://www.carighttoknow.org/.
“Whole Foods Market supports California’s Proposition 37 requiring mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods by July 1, 2014 because it has long believed its customers have the right to know how their food is produced.”
This honestly shouldn’t be news. The fact that a health food store like Whole Foods wouldn’t support mandatory labeling of GMOs (genetically modified organisms) is preposterous. Or is it?
Whole Foods Market announced this week that they are in support of Prop 37. They even created this nifty green image to show their Prop 37 love. My question is, what took em so long?? With election day only weeks away, Whole Foods should have been on this wagon months ago.
Turns out that while they do support Prop 37, they have a few reservations. Specifically, they think the upper limit for processed foods containing GMO ingredients should be 0.9% instead of the 0.5% in the proposition. Their reason? To keep it in line with “the long-established international labeling standard.” Secondly, Whole Foods was hoping for California Attorney General Office’s oversight. They explain their fear in the press release:
“…manufacturers could be compelled to label products with ‘May be Partially Produced with Genetic Engineering’ even if it is not the case to avoid costly litigation and protect themselves. This could result in consumers receiving inaccurate information, which is contrary to the intent of the proposition itself.”
The CA Right to Know camp has responded to the costly litigation claims, in general, by saying, “There is no reason to believe companies will violate the law as most companies honestly label their food for calories, fat content, allergy risks and other information consumers want to know, whether or not that information is favorable to product sales. One can expect that companies will comply with the law and there will be little if any need for lawsuits.”
Regardless of their few reservations, I am quite frankly relieved that Whole Foods has supported Prop 37. This is an issue close to my heart and one that I expect certain companies to embrace.
Be Food Smart is a proud supporter and partner of California Right to Know and Yes on Prop 37. To learn more about Prop 37, visit: CA Right to Know.
Image Source: Whole Foods Market
The California Right to Know campaign sent its partners this ad from the No on 37 camp today. If you are just tuning in, Proposition 37 is an initiative in California which would require genetically modified foods (GMOs) to be labeled. For obvious reasons, the giant food and beverage companies and GMO seed producing companies like Monsanto, oppose this Prop and are spending millions trying to defeat it. With all that money, it’s downright funny that this ad was the best they could come up with. In all honesty, would this ad ever sway you to think labeling GMOs was a bad thing? What is the deal with the huge steak and unrecognizable can of dog food? This ad is so confusing I barely understood what they were trying to get at. If this is the best they got, things are looking good for mandatory labeling in California.
To see the full article and witty response from the Right to Know folks, click here.
Photo via the CA Right to Know blog
California has issued numbers to all the propositions which will be on the November ballot. Prop 37 is the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act. That’s quite a mouth full (extra pun intended). In November, I, along with other Californians, will cast a vote to decide if we have the right to know if our food is genetically modified. Should Prop 37 pass, many speculate that other states will quickly follow and hopefully, we’ll have labeling on a national level soon after.
Polls across the US show that more than 90% of the public supports labeling of genetically modified foods (GMOs). With near unanimous support, you’d think this would be a done deal. Except for the fact that we are going up against Big Food and Big Ag who desperately want Prop 37 to fail. Soon you will start to see the airwaves filled with ads and false claims about why we shouldn’t label our food. Here are a few tactics to expect (taken directly from the CA Right to Know website):
Cost inventions: Allegations that labeling genetically engineered food would raise the cost of groceries by “hundreds of dollars” a year are false. There is absolutely no evidence to back up these claims. If the California Right to Know initiative becomes law, there will be no increased cost to consumers. The initiative simply requires adding a little bit of ink to existing labels. Companies have 18 months to comply with the new labeling law, and they typically change their labels within this time period anyway.
Language lies: Claiming that “the language is confusing” is a standard approach of opponents. In this case, the opposition is working hard to convince people that the Right to Know initiative will prevent non-GMO foods, such as canned olives, from being marketed as “natural.” This is false. The initiative applies only to genetically engineered foods. The California Attorney General’s office has already rejected the opposition’s claims that the initiative could be applied to non-GMO foods. The AG’s summary of the ballot initiative clearly states that the initiative applies to genetically engineered foods, not other foods.
Lawsuit boogeymen: Whipping up fears about trial lawyers is a key strategy of the opposition. Their website claims the initiative will authorize “bounty hunter lawsuits.” This claim is false and makes no sense. The California Right to Know initiative does not allow bounty hunter fees, so there is no economic incentive for lawyers to sue. Furthermore, the labeling law is easy to comply with – it merely requires labeling food that contains genetically engineered ingredients. There is no reason to believe companies will violate the law. Just as they accurately label their food for calories and fat content, companies are likely to disclose genetically engineered ingredients.
Americans can’t handle it? The opposition website opens to a photo of a confused looking elderly gentleman staring at a grocery store shelf. This implication is that American consumers won’t be able to understand labels that include information about genetically engineered ingredients. This is insulting. The truth is that the overwhelming majority of Americans want to know if their food is genetically engineered. Several polls indicate that 9 out of 10 voters want mandatory labeling of GMOs (Mellman 2012, Reuters 2010, Zogby 2012). A recent poll of 500 California adults by San Francisco television station KCBS found that 91% backed labeling.
Currently, more than 40 countries already label GMOs; I suppose we’re just a little behind as one of the only remaining developed nations to not label. “Prop 37 is about our fundamental right to know what’s in the food we eat and feed our children,” said Stacy Malkan, a spokesperson for the California Right to Know campaign. We fully agree and urge everyone to spread the word. YES on Prop 37!
Be Food Smart is proud to endorse the California Right to Know Campaign.