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WASHINGTON, March 7 – Consumers and health advocates launched a national campaign calling on local and regional supermarket chains to label their store-brand products for ingredients derived from genetically modified organisms (GMOs), on the one year anniversary of Whole Foods’ announcement that it will adopt labeling for all products in its stores.
“Whole Foods took a big step, and it’s time for other supermarkets to deliver for their customers,” said Meghan Hess, Associate Field Director with the U.S. PIRG Education Fund. “Consumers have real concerns about GMOs, including the way they lead to increased pesticide use, and they have a right to know what’s in their food.”
State Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs) held events in 16 states on across the country on March 7th and 8th to rally local grassroots supporters, farmers, legislators, and consumer and environmental groups around the campaign.
As part of the events, U.S. PIRG Education Fund also released a report documenting other recent actions companies have taken in response to consumers’ desire for better information about GMO ingredients in their food. In addition to Whole Foods’ commitment to labeling, other recent actions include:
• Chipotle and Ben & Jerry’s announced they will label the food they sell for GMO ingredients, and eventually move towards phasing out those ingredients.
• Both Cheerios and Grape-Nuts are going GMO-free.
• The Non-GMO Project, which offers voluntary GMO labeling, in 2013 saw a 300% year-over-year increase in producer interest.
And just this week, Kroger and Safeway joined other grocery chains, including Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and Target by announcing they would not sell genetically engineered salmon, even if it’s approved for sale.
“Polls consistently show more than 90% of the public supports labeling,” continued Hess. “It’s just smart business sense for companies to give their customers what they want.”
“Consumers expect transparency from the brands they trust to feed their families,” noted Lucia von Reusner, Shareholder Advocate at Green Century Capital Management. “Labeling GMOs is the logical step for any company hoping to win today's increasingly informed and sophisticated consumer.”
“GMO labeling is a common-sense solution that will help consumers know what’s on their plates, no matter where they do their grocery shopping,” concluded Hess. “On the anniversary of Whole Foods’ commitment, it’s time for other supermarket chains to do the same.”
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