Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Whole Foods admits it cannot be GMO-free

Genetically modified foods have become so ubiquitous in the US that even the grocery store Whole Foods now admits it cannot keep biotech foods off its shelves. A representative for the corporation acknowledged in May that the realities of the marketplace have forced a shift in the company's previous no-GMO's policy.

Joe Dickson, quality standards coordinator for Whole Foods Markets, notes that GMO's dominate the market, especially for corn, soy and canola crops from which ingredients in most processed foods are derived. "Until there's federal government mandated labeling of GMO ingredients, there's no way to tell if packaged products contain GMO ingredients," Dickson said. "Our approach is to work in the spirit of partnership with our suppliers ... to encourage them to take active steps to avoid GMO ingredients."

Whole Foods' recent admission proves how successful the biotech companies have been in their efforts to replace foods unadulterated by hormones with GMOs. The fact that one of the best-known purveyors of natural foods has decided to throw in the towel rather than holding the line against biotech foods means consumers will have fewer places to go in their quest to buy non-genetically engineered foods.

Steve - if your goal is to stay away from GMOs as much as possible, find local food purveyors who do not use biotech seeds or feed biotech crops to their domesticated animals. Unfortunately, this is not convenient for the majority of us. This issue may also eventually change the definition of "organic." Here are some sobering statistics:

93% of all canola seeds, 86% of all corn and 93% of all soy planted in the USA are genetically modified, and make up over three-quarters of all processed foods in the country. This makes it very hard for stores such as Whole Foods to stock 100% non-GM ingredients.

Organic foods are defined as those that:
  • Do not involve chemical fertilizers
  • Do not involve genetically modified organisms
  • Are not processed using industrial solvents
  • Are not processed using irradiation
  • Do not contain chemical food additives
  • Do not involve pesticides

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