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Major U.S. Grocer to Require Labeling of GMO Foods

PHOTO: Whole Foods Market will be the first major retailer in the U.S. to require labeling of all genetically modified foods sold in its stores. CREDIT: Kari Sullivan
PHOTO: Whole Foods Market will be the first major retailer in the U.S. to require labeling of all genetically modified foods sold in its stores. CREDIT: Kari Sullivan
April 9, 2013

AUSTIN, Texas - With genetically-modified ingredients now deeply embedded in the U.S. food supply, Whole Foods Market is making a decision that many in the industry are calling a game changer. The Austin-based national grocery chain plans to require labeling of all GMO foods sold in its stores by 2018, becoming the first major retailer in the country to do so.

The decision was led by customer demand, according to executive global grocery coordinator Errol Schweizer.

"The rise of fair trade, the growth of organics, of farmers' markets, all point to the fact that our customers want to know where their food is coming from, what it's made from, who is making it," he declared. "And the more information that we can give our customers, the better it is for us, them, as well as our producers."

The Food and Drug Administration has deemed GMO products to be safe, and some concerns have been expressed that the labeling could suggest to consumers a potential risk to GMO foods.

Schweizer however said that Whole Foods is simply offering transparency.

"We're not making a value judgment and we're not interpreting the science one way or the other," he stated. "We're just saying the customer has the right to make an informed choice on what they are feeding themselves or their family."

Whole Foods operates 21 stores in Texas.

In nearly 50 countries around the world, including Australia, Japan, and all of the countries in the European Union, there are significant restrictions or outright bans on the production and sale of GMOs.

More information on GMOs is at bit.ly/11G0zjI.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - TX