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Is Whole Foods Sincere About its Support for Labeling Genetically Modified Foods?

Is it possible that Whole Foods wants to ride the GMO labeling popularity wave while it quietly works behind the scenes to prevent Prop 37, or any other GMO labeling law, from passing?

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Company policy also apparently doesn’t preclude WFM’s wealthy executives from donating to political campaigns. CEO John Mackey has donated $2500 so far this year to Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, and has made many personal donations to past political campaigns – yet not one penny to Prop 37.

Clearly, the executives and big investors who control WFM don’t want to antagonize millions of their customers, so they’ve issued a token endorsement of Prop 37. But here’s the inconvenient truth. WFM sells billions of dollars of non-organic, so-called “natural” products every year that contain genetically engineered ingredients, including thousands of different processed foods, nutritional supplements, meat, and animal products. Once Prop 37 passes on November 6, WFM, just like every other supermarket chain, will face a major dilemma. Are they willing to demand that their suppliers get GMOs out of the 50,000 items sold in their stores, and give WFM legally binding affidavits to prove this? Is WFM willing to stop marketing non-organic GMO-tainted foods as “natural,” when many of them are not?

And the most critical question of all: Is WFM willing to antagonize – and possibly lose - their core customers, consumers who will not want to purchase foods carrying labels that say “produced through genetic engineering”?

Most of the workers, and certainly the overwhelming majority of the customers, at Whole Foods support organic foods and mandatory labeling of GMOs. It’s time for the executives and the top brass to stop the lies and obfuscation, to stop the greenwashing, and to atone for the fact that they’ve made hundreds of millions of dollars in profit over the years by selling non-organic, so-called “natural” foods and supplements that contain GMOs.

It’s also time for WFM to remove misleading information about Prop 37 from the company website. It’s time for this multi-billion corporation and its wealthy executives to put their money where their mouth is, and make a sizeable donation to the California ballot Initiative to label genetically engineered foods. This is the food fight of our lives, and Whole Foods Market is either with us or against us. Please join the 25,000 organic consumers who have already signed this petition asking WFM to throw real support behind Prop 37.

 

Ronnie Cummins is founder and director of the Organic Consumers Association. Cummins is author of numerous articles and books, including "Genetically Engineered Food: A Self-Defense Guide for Consumers" (Second Revised Edition Marlowe & Company 2004).
 
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