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Last year, Whole Foods pledged that it would label foods containing GMO ingredients by 2018. It’s been a year since that proclamation, and Whole Foods is now sharing its one-year update on the progress made toward this goal.
In a blog post by Whole Foods out this week, the company states: “There is a lot of work going on behind the scenes to implement a change of this magnitude.”
First, the company asserts that it has made decisions on GMO transparency: “If a product in our stores is labeled non-GMO, it must be either: Certified organic (since the organic standard prohibits the use of GMO ingredients already); or Verified by the Non-GMO Project.”
Because of this stance, Whole Foods’ suppliers have had to modify their products to transition to either certified organic, non-GMO, or both. Since this GMO transparency stance was revealed last year, “the Non-GMO Project has enrolled more than 10,000 products and verified 4,622 products, representing 1,500 different brands.”
As of right now, Whole Foods features “more than 6,000 products represented by more than 500 brands that are sourced non-GMO.”
For its own brand, the 365 Daily Value line, “more than two-thirds are either certified organic, Non-GMO Project Verified, or both, which is a ten percent increase since our announcement a year ago.”
In prepared foods, the Whole Food kitchens claim progress as well: “we only use Non-GMO Project Verified canola oil in foods prepared in our kitchens. Buyers for each department in our stores are examining the products we carry and how they can continue to move towards meeting our 2018 deadline.”
The company also claims its new requirements will mandate that for foods to be labeled non-GMO, animals providing the products must also be fed only non-GMO or organic feeds.
Whole Foods explains that it also currently examining many more complicated areas of non-GMO requirements, including supplements, beer, wine, and cheese, since GMO ingredients are more common in all of these types of products.
The company sums up its one-year update with the following statement: “All of us — Whole Foods Market customers, suppliers and team members — are focused on the end goal: total GMO transparency.”
We’re happy to see Whole Foods making consistent progress – it looks like the company is indeed on its way to its 2018 goal. When Whole Foods makes steps of this measure, other grocery stores will eventually need to follow if they are going to stay current and meet the needs of consumers increasingly concerned about GMO foods. And that’s good news for all of us!
Image source: Dwight Burdette / Wikimedia Commons