As I have been writing about lately, Proposition 37, the ballot initiative in California that would require the mandatory labeling of GMOs, will be voted on in November and is the most important event in the industry since the USDA approved the National Organic Program more than a decade ago.
Up until this point, however, Whole Foods has been very silent on this issue since the company generally stays out of food politics.
But just minutes ago I got an email from my contact at Whole Foods that blew me away.
Whole Foods has now come out and endorsed Proposition 37! Why?
The company believes that consumers have a right to know how their food is produced.
Here is the entire press release:
Whole Foods Market supports California’s Proposition 37 requiring mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods by January 1, 2014 because it has long believed its customers have the right to know how their food is produced. However, the company has some reservations with the bill as drafted and hopes several issues can be addressed in the implementation phase should voters approve the measure, including:
1) The use of 0.5% of the total weight as the upper limit for processed foods that contain one or more genetically engineered ingredients to be exempted from labeling is inconsistent with the long-established international labeling standard of 0.9%.
2) The people of California’s best interests will not be properly represented as the enforcement of Proposition 37 will not be handled in partnership with the California Attorney General’s Office to ensure objective guidance and impartial oversight, but instead by private plaintiff attorneys pursuing civil litigation.
Because of the inconsistency in thresholds and the lack of Attorney General oversight, manufacturers could be compelled to label products with “May be Partially Produced with Genetic Engineering” even if it is not the case to avoid costly litigation and protect themselves. This could result in consumers receiving inaccurate information, which is contrary to the intent of the bill itself.
Additionally, Whole Foods Market is encouraged by the parallel effort in Washington State with their proposed Initiative Measure No. 522 as it already addresses some of the concerns of California’s Proposition 37. These two state initiatives could possibly lead to a broader effort to create one federal standard on labeling of genetically engineered foods similar to how the National Organic Standards were formed. One set of rules and uniform support of a consumer’s right to know would ultimately be in the best interest of all.
This is huge, huge news.
Whole Foods is the giant in the organic food world, and we have badly needed the company’s support in this all-important effort.
In its press release, Whole Foods got it right. Consumers have a fundamental right to know what they are eating.
The fact that genetically-engineered ingredients are NOT labeled in the U.S. is one of the most un-American things that I can think of, and politicians ought to be ashamed for allowing this injustice to continue.
Equally as appalling is that the U.S. Patent Office gives patents to GMOs because they are unique and different, but the USDA says GM-food and non-GM-food are essentially the same thing. It is a complete and total sham.
To learn more about the Proposition 37 ballot initiative, click HERE.
To learn which conventional, organic, and natural food companies are trying to defeat Proposition 37 and the mandatory labeling of GMOs, click HERE. (These are also the companies that I am boycotting).
Please get involved, spread the word, and donate money to the California Right to Know initiative.