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Whole Foods First US Grocer To Set GMO Labeling Deadline

While California's Proposition 37 failed in November, Whole Foods has decided to label genetically modified ingredients voluntarily.

Whole Foods is the first of its kind to set a firm deadline on labeling GMOs.

Photo: Courtesy of wallyg (Flickr)

Whole Foods boasts 340 retail and non-retail locations across the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom.

Aiming to make customers more conscious of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), Whole Foods says it will label every food containing GMOs by 2018. It is the first American grocery chain to set a firm deadline for such labeling.

What To Label And Why

According the Non-GMO Project, GMOs are “plants or animals created through the gene splicing techniques of biotechnology.” Though proponents point to GMOs high productivity and nutritional content, detractors worry that engineering may result in unintended health and environmental consequences.

It is estimated that in America 80 percent of commercially processed foods have some genetically modified content. While many nations of the world require labeling, including many European Union nations, the U.S. currently does not.

A Building Movement

Whole Foods’ announcement comes in the wake of the November defeat of California’s Proposition 37 — an initiative aimed at requiring all genetically altered foods sold in the state to be labeled. Defeated 54 percent to 56 percent, Proposition 37 fell in part due to the a last-minute campaign waged by companies like Dupont and Kraft.

The next such referendum is Washington’s “The People’s Right To Know Genetically Engineered Food Act,” which is to be voted on in 2013.

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Earth Eats Staff

Earth Eats Staff is a weekly podcast, public radio program and blog bringing you the freshest news and recipes inspired by local food and sustainable agriculture.

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