Whole Foods Market Pauses GMO Labeling Initiative

Whole Foods Market Pauses GMO Labeling Initiative

AUSTIN, TX - While Whole Foods Market made retail history as the first national chain to commit to GMO transparency back in 2013, the grocer is now halting its GMO efforts a few months shy of the initial deadline of September 1, 2018. Last week, Whole Foods President and Chief Operating Officer A.C. Gallo announced in an email to suppliers that the company is pausing its GMO food labeling requirements, according to a report by the New Food Economy.

A.C. Gallo, President and Chief Operating Officer, Whole Foods MarketIn the email, Gallo cited suppliers as the primary reason, writing: “As the USDA finalizes the federal regulation in the coming months and the food industry assesses the impact, we do not want our policy to pose further challenges for you and your business.”

Specifically, in recent months, suppliers have voiced concerns over the difficulty of complying with both Whole Foods’ and the USDA’s GMO requirements, as Whole Foods’ GMO rulings are stricter. First announced five years ago, Whole Foods’ rules require suppliers to disclose the presence of all genetically modified ingredients on all packaging and state that QR codes do not count as disclosing the presence of GMO ingredients in products, the news source noted.

Whole Foods storefront

While it is unclear when Whole Foods will pick these efforts back up again, the retailer told the New Food Economy: “We remain committed to providing our customers with the level of transparency they want and expect from us and will continue to require suppliers to obtain third-party verification for non-GMO claims."

Is Whole Foods latest move the calm before a tighter ruling storm or a sign that it is straying towards leniency on what’s required? And how will the retailer’s decision affect fresh produce? AndNowUKnow will continue to report.

Whole Foods Market