We all want to buy local and organic produce whenever possible, and that’s getting easier as many grocery stores now label their fruits and vegetables. But how do I know if I’m buying genetically modified produce? Keeping genetically modified organisms (GMOs) off my family’s dinner table just got a little easier—at Whole Foods, at least.
Shoppers pick up natural and organic food at Whole Foods in New York. Photo Courtesy Whole Foods.
Whole Foods Market recently announced it will submit its private-label (store brand) products to the Non-GMO Project’s Product Verification Program (PVP). The Non-GMO Project is a nonprofit organization made up of manufacturers, retailers, processors, distributors, farmers, seed breeders and consumers who advocate natural and organic products produced without genetic engineering. The group worked with the Global ID Group, an international non-GMO testing organization, to create the PVP.
The voluntary program analyzes products by performing on-site audits and DNA testing of any ingredient known to be at high risk for genetic contamination. Products that meet the standards are entitled to carry the Non-GMO Project’s compliance seal. The first Whole Foods products verified by the Non-GMO Project are expected to hit stores before year’s end.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) organic standards require organic producers to comply with certain non-GMO requirements, but no standards exist for labeling GMOs in non-organic products. The majority of Whole Foods’ private label products are not USDA certified-organic, meaning many products may contain GMOs. Products labeled as “natural” are often produced on large industrial farms using pesticides, chemical fertilizer, hormones and genetic engineering.
What do you think about Whole Foods’ pledge to verify its products as GMO-free? Tell me about it in the comment section.