Whole Foods Market is backing Oregon’s Measure 92, requiring mandatory labeling of raw and packaged foods containing Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) by Jan. 1, 2016. More than 155,000 Oregonians signed a petition to put Measure 92 on the ballot this November.
“At Whole Foods Market, we believe consumers have a fundamental right to know what’s in their food so that they can make informed choices about what’s right for them and their families,” said Joe Rogoff, Whole Foods Market’s regional president of the Pacific Northwest.
“We label ingredients, we label allergens, we label nutrients and we label countries of origin. Why wouldn’t we also require labeling for genetic modification? The time has come for the people of Oregon to let their voices be heard and make a change.”
Whole Foods Market currently has eight stores and one mobile grocery location in the state of Oregon.
In March 2013, Whole Foods Market became the first national grocer to set a deadline for full GMO transparency. By 2018, all food in Whole Foods Market’s U.S. and Canadian stores must be labeled to indicate if they contain GMOs.
The Coalition for Safe and Affordable Food says Oregon’s mandatory labeling initiative would cause confusion and raise prices for consumers.
Coalition spokesperson Claire Parker said, “A state-by-state patchwork of GMO labeling laws would badly disadvantage Oregon consumers, small farmers, food producers and grocers, all because of policies generated from fear, and which have no scientific basis.
“Oregon’s proposed mandatory GMO labeling initiative would raise the price of groceries for consumers across the state, placing an unnecessary cost burden on working families already struggling to put food on the table.
“One recent study estimated that an average family of four could see an additional $500 in annual grocery costs as a result of mandatory labeling laws.
“Perhaps as alarming for Oregon’s working families, who would bear the brunt of these increased costs, is the fact that the proposed initiative ignores the scientific consensus supported by the world’s leading scientific bodies—including the FDA, American Medical Association and World Health Organization—that GMOs are safe.
“A federal labeling solution is the only way to ensure that consumers maintain access to safe, quality and affordable food while protecting small businesses from new costs that many will simply be unable to bear. Congress should stand with America’s consumers and small businesses by passing the bipartisan proposed Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act, which would strengthen America’s food safety policies while also giving consumers the information they need to make informed choices in the marketplace without creating unnecessary confusion and burdening small businesses.”