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Grocery Chain to Require Labeling of GMO Foods

PHOTO: The grocery chain Whole Foods will start requiring labeling of genetically modified foods. Courtesy: Whole Foods website
PHOTO: The grocery chain Whole Foods will start requiring labeling of genetically modified foods. Courtesy: Whole Foods website
April 10, 2013

ANNAPOLIS, Md. - A grocery chain with stores in Maryland is weighing in with its wallet on the issue of genetically modified foods.

Late last week, Whole Foods announced plans to require labeling of all GMO foods sold in its stores by 2018. It will be the first major retailer in the nation to make the change. The decision was led by customer demand, according to Whole Foods' executive global grocery coordinator, Errol Schweizer.

"The rise of fair trade, the growth of organic, of farmer's 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," Schweizer said.

The Food and Drug Administration has deemed GMO products safe, and some are concerned that the labeling could mislead consumers about the potential risk, but Schweizer said his company simply wants to offer transparency.

"We're not making a value judgment and we're not interpreting the science one way or the other," he said. "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 already sells more than 3,300 food products that are verified non-GMO, he said. Many countries in Europe already ban or require labeling of genetically modified foods.

There are eight Whole Foods stores in Maryland.

Alison Burns, Public News Service - MD