Whole Foods Announces Voluntary Labeling of GMO’s Without Government Mandate

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By JG Vibes
March 11, 2013

The GMO labeling issue is a controversial one, even among activists who agree that GMO’s are dangerous there are still disagreements. 
Many of those who take issue with the political labeling approach, take that stance because they don’t trust the government or the FDA to handle such a responsibility. While others feel that that action should be taken any way possible. 
So far things have not worked so well for the political strategy, because Monsanto and food brands that falsely advertise as organic have been able to lobby local governments to override these measures or simply cheat at the ballot box.
Even so, a great number of the people who don’t to take the political approach would still like to see GMO’s labeled, just not through the kind of process that the government would set up.
Some have legitimate concerns of regulatory capture, and the ability that Monsanto would have to hijack the labeling process for their own ends, through their control of the FDA and the US government.
This is a serious problem to consider, but regardless, GMO’s are still an issue that need to be handled with creativity, taking into account the unintended consequences of government action.  A more grass roots solution seems to be targeting specific businesses and threatening to take your money elsewhere if they aren’t clear about the genetic content of their food.
Over the past year Whole Foods has received a significant amount of criticism over their sale of GMO foods, and now the company has responded by promising to label all of their GMO foods, giving their suppliers a few years to switch over to non GMO ingredients.
“Whole Foods Market commits to full GMO transparency by giving supplier partners five years to source non-GMO ingredients or to clearly label products with ingredients containing GMOs.
Today, we stood up for the consumer’s right to know by announcing that all products in our US and Canadian stores containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) must be clearly labeled within five years. We heard our customers loud and clear asking us for GMO labeling and we are responding where we have control: in our own stores.
We are the first national grocery chain to set a deadline for full GMO transparency. By 2018, we will require our supplier partners to label products containing GMO ingredients, and we will work in collaboration with them as they transition to sourcing non-GMO ingredients or to clearly labeling products with ingredients containing GMOs.”


For food markets to establish this sort of voluntary agreement with their suppliers would create the same sort consumer awareness that supporters of government mandates are looking to achieve, without giving the FDA more power and control over the food supply and businesses in the food industry. 

Additionally, this action taken by Whole Foods is more proof that politics is not necessary to solve these kinds of problems, or any problems for that matter.  Anything that people are trying to achieve politically can be handled far better if people cut out the middleman and negotiate directly with one another.

It is likely that this will not stop at Whole Foods, other grocery stores will probobly see that a standard has been set and will also want to provide the same level of transparency for their customers, because once their customers learn that it’s possible, that is what they will be shopping for.


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J.G. Vibes is the author of an 87 chapter counter-culture textbook called Alchemy of the Modern Renaissance, a staff writer, reporter for dev-test.intellihub.com and Executive Producer of the Bob Tuskin Radio Show. You can keep up with his work, which includes free podcasts, free e-books & free audiobooks at his website www.aotmr.com