Whole Foods Market received wide attention, and praise among food advocates, for its decision to become the first U.S. grocer to label all food for genetically modified content. Known by the shorthand GMO, for genetically modified organism, these foods have been increasingly the subject of voter referenda and legislative action, as consumers express concerns about the content and derivation of the food supply.
Whole Foods customers, known for a hyper sensitivity to health and environmental issues, have demanded the labeling, according to A. C. Gallo, who was quoted in the New York Times saying that Some of our manufacturers say theyve seen a 15 percent increase in sales of products they have labeled.
Neither the Food and Drug Administration and U.S. Department of Agriculture, each with jurisdiction over protecting and ensuring safety of segments of the U.S. food supply, have expressed concern about GMO foods. Much corn and soy is grown from genetically modified seeds affecting its ability to withstand or create pesticides, and the FDA appears likely to approve the sale of GMO salmon, the first GMO animal approved for sale as food (though certainly not the first animal raised with the assistance of GMO feed).
But consumers and advocates have raised concerns about the spread of genetically modified crops in nature, the increased use of pesticides associated with some GMO crops, and perceived health risks from consuming genetically modified foods.
For Whole Foods, anyway, the market has spoken. It wants labels, and it's going to get them... eventually. Whole Foods committed to labeling its products by 2018.
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