The movement that’s been pushing for the mandatory labeling of foods containing GMOs (ingredients that have been genetically modified) got a huge boost last week, when Whole Foods announced it would require the labeling in its stores as of 2018.
“It’s an announcement about transparency and supporting the consumer’s right to know what’s in their food,” says Kate Lowery, a spokesperson for the grocery chain.
Until now, advocates (who warn of lax regulation around GMOs and possible health risks) have focused on legislation, like Proposition 37 in California. That initiative failed last fall but brought lots of attention to the issue. Now, they’re hoping Whole Foods’ enormous influence in the industry will have ripple effects at every level.
“This is the biggest news in the industry ever since organic standards were put into place more than a decade ago,” says Max Goldberg, the creator of Living Maxwell, who is very involved in efforts to label GMOs and scored the first interview with Whole Foods executives after they made the announcement at the Natural Products Expo West.
Why is labeling GMOs a big deal?