Whole Foods has announced that the grocery chain’s commitment to require all foods that contain genetically modified ingredients to be labeled by the year 2018. Take a look at the video below of Whole Foods co-CEO Walter Robb making the announcement.
The announcement has been met with mixed feelings. While those of us who believe that we have the right to know what is in our food are pleased with the announcement, The New York Times reports that not everyone is excited.
The Grocery Manufacturers Association, the trade group that represents major food companies and retailers, issued a statement opposing the move. “These labels could mislead consumers into believing that these food products are somehow different or present a special risk or a potential risk,” Louis Finkel, the organization’s executive director of government affairs, said in the statement.
Let me follow the logic here. Transparency — letting consumers know exactly what is in their food — could be misleading?
I don’t think the Grocery Manufactures Association is really worried that Whole Foods' GMO labeling will be misleading. I think they’re worried it will lead people into a better understanding of GMO foods.
For example, it may lead people to find out, as Robyn O’Brien pointed out yesterday on her Inspired Bites blog, that these crops are “labeled in 60 countries around the world, including all 27 countries in Europe, Japan, Australia, Russia, India and China, giving consumers in those countries the right to choose whether or not they want to eat these foods.”
This Whole Foods decision came about because of consumer demand. I’m always incredibly optimistic when I hear that changes come about because of the people demand it. The mandatory GMO labeling at Whole Foods gives me hope that even if our federal government doesn’t do what 60 other countries have already done, GMO labeling may eventually be the norm in our country.
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