Whole Foods Pushes Non-GMO Label

Last Updated Jul 14, 2009 5:08 PM EDT

Whole Foods has partnered with the Non-GMO Project in an attempt to promote testing and labeling of foods that are free of genetically modified ingredients. The grocer's private label products will use the project's Product Verification Program (PVP), which uses on-site facility audits and DNA testing to ensure compliance.

As I have stated before, I am not opposed to genetically modified food, but I do support careful and cautious implementation, as well as transparency. The thing about genetically-modified crops is that they tend to contaminate neighboring crops, making it very difficult for consumers to know what they're eating. Thus the PVP requirement of DNA testing. Though according to Supermarket News, products made up of less than 1 percent GMO ingredients will still qualify.

Whole Foods is the biggest company to join the project so far, and it has planned a webinar to educate others about the seal. If more companies become involved, GMO-free sourcing will become cheaper across the board, and furthermore, products are easier to certify if they're made from ingredients that have already been certified.

"We searched high and low for years for a way to do this," Whole Foods VP of quality standards Margaret Wittenberg said in a press release, "and now, thankfully, the Non-GMO Project has answered that challenge by creating a standard and a practical system by which manufacturers may measure their products. At last, shoppers concerned about foods made with genetically modified ingredients will be able to make informed choices."

Although products must be free of genetically modified ingredients to receive USDA organic certification, the government does not otherwise regulate the use of GM crops, and the vast majority of corn and soy in the U.S. is genetically modified.

Related stories on BNET:
Companies Block GM Sugar Beets, But For the Wrong Reasons

  • Katherine Glover