Whole Foods to test products for G.M.O's
July 08, 2009
by Eric Schroeder
AUSTIN, TEXAS — Whole Foods Market on Tuesday said it has partnered with the Non-GMO Project to test its private label products for bioengineered organisms. The Non-GMO Project — a non-profit collaboration of manufacturers, retailers, processors, distributors, farmers, seed breeders and consumers — will use its Product Verification Program (P.V.P.) to test whether Whole Foods’ private label products have met the defined standards for the presence of bioengineered organisms.
According to Whole Foods, products meeting the P.V.P.’s standards may be labeled with the Non-GMO Project’s compliance seal. The P.V.P., which is the first independent third-party program of its kind in the United States, combines on-site facility audits, document-based review and DNA testing to measure compliance with the standard.
"From the moment G.M.O.s were approved for use in the U.S., we recognized the need for transparency, but there was no definitive standard by which to evaluate or label products," said Margaret Wittenberg, global vice-president of quality standards at Whole Foods. "We searched high and low for years for a way to do this and now, thankfully, the Non-GMO Project has answered that challenge by creating a standard and a practical system by which manufacturers may measure their products. At last, shoppers concerned about foods made with genetically modified ingredients will be able to make informed choices."
Currently, federal law requires organic producers to comply with certain non-G.M.O. requirements identified in the U.S. Department of Agriculture organic standards, but no standards exist for labeling G.M.O.s in non-organic products.
The first Whole Foods Market private label products to bear the Non-GMO Project seal are expected to appear before the end of the year.