BELLEVUE, Wash. (April 25, 2013) – Whole Foods Market today announced its support of Yes on 522, the campaign to label genetically modified foods by launching a grassroots effort called, Will Vote for Food (www.WillVoteforFood.com) to engage consumers and build support of the ballot initiative.
Last year, concerned citizens gathered more than 340,000 signatures in order to move the I-522 initiative forward to a vote in November 2013. Under this initiative, genetically modified foods, like corn or soy, or foods with genetically modified organisms (GMOs) like chips, cold cereals, soft drinks, and baked goods would have a label noting that the food or food product had been genetically modified. The company will work in concert with a coalition of industry partners and collaborators to advance education about labeling GMOs.
“This issue is about transparency and the consumer’s right to make informed decisions,” said Joe Rogoff, regional president for Whole Foods Market in the Pacific Northwest. “We believe that growers using genetically modified seed, and producers using the products grown from those seeds, have an obligation to share that information with their public. And the price paid by the food industry for relabeling is a pittance compared to the distrust that increasingly results from their concealment. We support Yes on 522. At Whole Foods Market, we will vote for food.”
WillVoteforFood.com will serve as a central hub for posts and content from a wide range of sources including other grocers, vendors and producers who share Whole Foods Market’s commitment to this important issue. Beyond the website, Whole Foods Market will roll out a consumer-facing “Will Vote for Food” campaign involving grassroots community efforts and multiple in-store events at its seven Washington locations in the months leading up to the November vote.
Support for Yes on 522 is the latest step in Whole Foods Market’s commitment to the consumer’s right to know about GMOs. In March of this year, the company announced that, by 2018, all products in its U.S. and Canadian stores must be labeled to indicate if they contain GMOs. The company confirms it will fully comply with the 2015 labeling deadline under I-522 when it passes. Whole Foods Market is the first national grocery chain to set a deadline for full GMO transparency.
“The prevalence of GMOs paired with nonexistent mandatory labeling makes it very difficult for retailers to source non-GMO options and for consumers to choose non-GMO products,” said Walter Robb, co-CEO of Whole Foods Market. We are encouraged by the steps Washington State is taking to ensure transparency for shoppers. We hope the initiative passes and helps the U.S. get to one national standard one day.”
Whole Foods Market has been collaborating with many of its producers and supplier partners for several years to source products without GMO ingredients. In 2009, the company began putting its 365 Everyday Value™ line through Non-GMO Project™ verification and encouraged its grocery supplier partners to do the same. Whole Foods Market currently sells 3,300 Non-GMO Project verified products from 250 brands, more than any other retailer in North America.