The push for mandatory GMO labeling continues to gain momentum around the country, as consumers clamor for food industry transparency. Several recent news stories highlight the inevitability of the shifting tides, making conscious eaters optimistic and chemical companies (presumably) quite nervous.
The Times They Are A-Changin’
Whole Foods announced last Friday that all GMO-containing products sold in their stores must be labeled such by 2018, making it the first national grocery chain to embrace GMO transparency.
From Packaging Digest:
“We are putting a stake in the ground on GMO labeling to support the consumer’s right to know,” says Walter Robb , co-CEO of Whole Foods Market. “The prevalence of GMOs in the U.S. paired with nonexistent mandatory labeling makes it very difficult to select non-GMO products. We are increasing our support of organic, and we are working with our supplier partners to grow our non-GMO supply chain to ensure we can continue to provide these choices in the future.”
… Robb adds, “While we are encouraged by the many mandatory labeling initiatives, we are committed to moving forward with our own GMO transparency plan now.”
From Pacific Business News:
“It marks a big victory in the move towards the labeling of genetically labeled foods,” Fergusson said in a statement. “Down to Earth will monitor and review the situation and may move our implementation date earlier if that becomes possible.”
In the meantime, the company is gradually eliminating products that may contain GMOs and is avoiding adding any new products that may contain GMO ingredients.
In related news, this week State Senator Daylin Leach and a dozen or so cosponsors introduced legislation to require GMO labeling on foods sold in Pennsylvania.
From a Philadelphia CBS affiliate:
“Ninety-three percent in the latest poll support having this information available to them on the labels of products,” Leach tells KYW Newsradio. “It’s a no-brainer. Just tell people, and then you know. Some people in the industry say that genetically modified foods can actually be healthier in some ways. Great — make that claim. We don’t object to that. Just let people know what they’re getting.”
“Yes, Please!” — Everyone But Industry Profiteers
We’ve already talked about promising legislation in Washington state and Vermont, and the shift among major grocery suppliers like Walmart towards embracing mandatory GMO labeling. Citizens and legislators in more than 20 states are actively pursuing laws to require labeling of GMO ingredients, and there’s no longer any ambiguity in the court of public opinion: depending on which poll you read, 93% to 96% of Americans want to know whether they’re eating genetically modified food.
As ever-increasing numbers of food-eating people (as opposed to corporate profit-eating ‘people’) become aware of the issues surrounding a GMO-driven food system, that genie just gets harder and harder to stuff back in the darn bottle! Ever since the biotech and food manufacturing industries went apoplectic over California’s Prop 37 last November, they’ve been forced into an ever-more-frenzied game of Whack-A-Mole against consumer groups, legislators, and (now) national grocery chains advocating mandatory GMO labeling.
I think they’re losing.
Image credit: Creative Commons photo by MillionsAgainstMonsanto.