March 11, 2013 – I was awfully glad to hear that Whole Foods intends to require labeling of all the foods, fresh or processed, sold in their stores that contain GMO’s (genetically modified organisms). Their patience in allowing vendors five years to get labeling underway is nonsensical; this must be the spoonful of sugar that helps the medicine go down. The importance of their new policy can’t be overstated, though: consumers will gradually come to accept the provision of this information as normal. In so doing, some will take the additional step of finding out why eating GMO’s could be problematic. Some will find out that the research to which the FDA repeatedly refers, when it claims foods containing GMO’s present no threat to human health, was performed by the companies that developed and sell the GMO seed! The education of the masses is, at last, off to a late, hesitant start.Organic foods will not require GMO labeling since they may not, by definition, contain them. According to the National Academies of Sciences, four-fifths of the corn and soybeans grown in this country are grown from GE (genetically engineered = genetically modified) seed. The same is true of cotton, the most pesticide-intensive crop grown anywhere in the world. Monsanto, Syngenta, et. al., claim that mandatory labeling will only confuse customers. Makers of GE seed have gone to great lengths to defeat mandatory labeling laws wherever they have been proposed. Thus far this year, the following states ‘ General Assemblies are considering bills that either require labeling, or prohibit the sale of genetically engineered foods: Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Hawaii, Indiana, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Tennessee, Vermont, and Washington.
The self-serving efforts of GMO makers notwithstanding, the growing demand for non-GMO (NGMO) products has been made evident in two separate ways – first, by consumers who have voiced their desire for increased access to such products, and second, by the 15 – 30% growth in sales of these products. NGMO products are identified by a “Non-GMO” verification label. According to A.C. Gallo, president of Whole Foods, NGMO products are actually more expensive to produce than products containing GMO’s, due to the short supply of ingredients. As market demand for NGMO products continues upward, prices should come down. Mellman Research has shown that 92 percent of American consumers want to know whether or not the food they consume contains GMO’s.If you’re like me, you’ll want to know - How can I help move events in the direction of getting all food products with GMO’s labeled? I think one way to let the big food companies know about your interest is to call them. Ask them which of their products contain GMO’s, then tell them you want their products labeled to that effect. Here are some phone numbers to help you get started:
General Mills 1-800-248-7310Kelloggs 1-800-962-1413
Kraft Foods 1-877-535-5666Nabisco 1-855-535-5648
Have I missed a particular “favorite” of yours? Look them up online, then give them a call. Let’s give Whole Foods a hand.