Not waiting for the government to take the lead in the labeling of genetically engineered or GMO foods, Whole Foods Market announced in March that it will require GMO transparency for any products sold in its stores by 2018, making it the first national grocery chain to set a deadline to label foods that contain GMO ingredients. Whole Foods also will require labeling for meat and dairy products if the animals were fed GMO grains. Certified organic foods will not have to carry the label since by definition, organic foods are prohibited from using GMO crops or ingredients. According to Co-CEO A.C. Gallo, the nation’s leading natural and organic products grocer is seeing sales increases of 15% to 30% for non-GMO verified products.
Whole Foods told USA Today that is currently sells more than 3,000 products that have gone through the non-GMO verification process, more than any other retailer in North America. Additionally, leading grocers including Whole Foods Market, Aldi’s, H-E-B, Trader Joe’s and PCC Natural Markets announced that they would not sell genetically engineered salmon, if FDA approves it. “We are committed to full GMO transparency within five years,” said Whole Foods Co-CEO Walter Robb. Following in Whole Foods’ footsteps, New Leaf Community Markets, a Santa Cruz, CA, natural foods retail chain, also announced that it will require labeling of GMOs by 2018.