The growing demand for labeling that identifies genetically modified ingredients (GMOs) lost the California referendum but will be on the ballot later this year in the state of Washington. Whole Foods gave the Just Label It campaign, justlabelit.org, a boost by announcing that by 2018 all products in their stores must identify on the label any genetically modified ingredients.
Co-ops already have strongly supported the Just Label It campaign, and the National Cooperative Grocers Association continues to approach its suppliers about the issues. Here are some additional comments (3/11/13) by Berkshire Co-op General Manager Art Ames:
“It behooves us to continue to look at other ways that we can effect change so that it is in the manufacturers' best financial interest to eliminate GMOs. In fact, it needs to be a great enough reward to counter-balance Monsanto's efforts to the contrary.
“A few months ago, I talked about our strategy here as stated in our food policy; "We recognize that consumers expect natural and organic products to be free of GMOs and are endeavoring to meet that expectation to the best of our ability. Therefore we are no longer accepting new non-organic products that include GMO high-risk items (listed below) in their ingredient list, unless they are enrolled in The Non-GMO Project or can provide us a detailed description of measures taken to avoid GMO contamination. "
“We've taken this approach because we understand that a disproportionate amount of resources goes into new product development and marketing. If we can increase the financial desirability for GMO-free products and begin to shrink the distribution chain for NEW GMO-addled products, the industry will react accordingly. Of course, one lonely co-op can't affect change. However, imagine if Co-ops across the country stop allowing NEW products to enter their establishments. That is a game changer financially and it also differentiates us in the market place as a unified national entity. Powerful stuff!”