We are encouraged by Whole Foods Markets' plan to support consumers' right to know by requiring labeling of all foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in its stores by 2018. However, we are calling on Whole Foods to move up its labeling deadline to July 2015, and to take the lead in the organic industry to end deceptive labeling practices by requiring all the stores' products that include the word "natural" in their labeling or packaging to be GMO-free.
We are pleased that Whole Foods has finally recognized consumers' right to know about GMOs. This is a major victory for U.S. consumers who have for far too long been denied basic information which would enable them to make safe, healthy food choices. This also represents a major defeat for Monsanto and the rest of the biotech industry who have been deceiving consumers since they first conspired more than 20 years ago with the U.S. Food & Drug Administration to falsely convince consumers that genetically modified foods are no different than foods that don't contain organisms created by manipulating DNA in laboratories or by injecting seeds with bacteria and pesticides.
But the Whole Foods plan does not go far enough. We ask that Whole Foods step up its timetable for GMO labeling, to coincide with the July 2015 deadline prescribed by I-522, the citizens' initiative for GMO labeling in Washington State. We also call on Whole Foods to stop selling products that contain GMOs under the misleading "natural" label, and to require any product in its store called "natural" be GMO-free.
Washington's I-522 is expected to pass in November 2013, becoming the first statewide mandatory GMO labeling law. The law establishes July 2015 as the deadline for compliance. Whole Foods Markets already complies with the U.K.'s mandatory GMO labeling law in its seven stores in that country.
Routine mislabeling and marketing fraud has confused millions of U.S. consumers, and enabled the so-called "natural" foods and products sector to grow into a $60-billion-a-year powerhouse, garnering twice as many sales in 2012 as certified organic products. It's time we stopped allowing food companies to market unhealthy food products, containing GMOs, pesticides, and synthetic and chemical compounds, as "natural," and we call on Whole Foods Market to take the first step.
Organic Consumers Association
Please sign our petition thanking Whole Foods Market for pledging to label its GMOs, but encouraging the company to do it by 2015 rather than 2018.