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Whole Foods' mandatory GMO labeling initiative and why it will take five years to solve the GMO problem

Tuesday, March 12, 2013
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
Editor of NaturalNews.com (See all articles...)
Tags: Whole Foods, GMOs, food labels

Whole Foods

(NaturalNews) In the wake of Whole Foods announcing mandatory GMO labeling of all products sold across its stores by 2018, there has been a lot of healthy debate on the subject. Jon Rappoport argues that Whole Foods should ditch all GMO foods and essentially become a "GMO-free" retailer.

Ronnie Cummins of the Organic Consumers Association emailed me and said:

We need to raise the bar and ask coops and natural foods stores to implement comprehensive GMO labeling as soon as possible, with implementation completed no later than July 2015, which is what Washington's I-522 labeling law calls for. Washington voters are very likely to pass the I-522 GMO Labeling ballot initiative on November 5, 2013, with an 18 month implementation period.

The consensus is that Whole Foods should move more quickly on GMO labeling, and nearly everyone agrees that Whole Foods ultimately needs to be a GMO-free retailer if it hopes to uphold its image of selling premium healthy foods.

Practical concerns: Why the natural products industry would struggle to be GMO-free by 2018

In theory, I agree with Rappoport and Cummins, but on a practical level, I know that large corporate machines like Whole Foods are very, very difficult to change quickly. As someone who sources raw materials, manufactures and retails health products for our own store, I also know there are huge challenges in the supply lines of non-GMO materials.

For example, we can't keep our organic, non-GMO freeze-dried organic foods in stock because the demand far outstrips supply. When a giant retailer like Whole Foods asks its 5,000+ suppliers to label the GMO content of their products by 2018, it's essentially asking thousands of food manufacturers to find new sources for their raw materials. In reality, the non-GMO agricultural output needed to meet that demand simply does not exist in 2013.

Although the point has merit, I ultimately disagree with Rappoport's belief that consumers are likely to ignore GMO labels. I think GMO labels will be the single most frequent reason why consumers will check labels, and any product carrying a label that admits to the presence of GMOs will see pictures of its labels splattered all across the internet in a "GMO hall of shame" display. To carry an admission of GMOs on your label is to commit brand suicide. It's the equivalent of saying, "This product is intentionally formulated with poison."

I can promise you that Natural News will be posting all the product names and brands sold at Whole Foods that still contain GMOs by 2018. We will literally call it the "GMO Hall of Shame" and explain, "These companies had five years to eliminate GMOs, and they refused to do so."

GMO labeling is GMO elimination

So Whole Foods' demand that suppliers comply with GMO labeling by 2018 is very nearly a demand that they all become GMO-free by 2018. And while five years seems very far away, from the point of view of farming demand, product reformulation, raw materials changes, labeling changes, compliance and testing, it's actually not unreasonable. Yes, I would like to see GMO labeling in 2015, as called for by the upcoming Washington state law, but I honestly think it will be difficult for food manufacturers to comply by 2015.

But don't worry: We are clearly winning the war against GMOs. As HushLeaks.com recently reported, Monsanto spies were found to be walking the halls of the recent Natural Products Expo West in California. There, claims of "GMO-free" had spread like wildfire across the industry, with product literature practically inundated with anti-GMO language.

This means natural product suppliers are being hammered with questions from their own customers: "Are your products non-GMO?" GMOs are the kiss of death for natural product companies. Any product manufacturer who does not begin making the switch to non-GMO formulations will quite possibly find itself out of business by 2018.

Go non-GMO or go out of business

Thanks to Whole Foods' announcement, the natural products industry now has huge economic incentives to start eliminating GMOs once and for all. That's a good thing, and it's why I say we need to support Whole Foods in their effort to label all GMOs by 2018.

Would we like it to be done sooner? Of course we would. Is it practical to transition the entire industry off GMOs by 2015? Probably not. There simply isn't the supply of non-GMO raw materials in the pipeline.

Also, remember that farmers who have been spraying Monsanto's deadly pesticides on their farms have caused long-term damage to the soil, and it will take 7 - 10 years for those farms to recover. Right there, we're talking about a decade-long transition away from toxic biotech farming methods.

U.S. farms are also battling runaway superweeds caused by biotech herbicides, and that problem may never be solved. In a very real sense, America has gone so far down the GMO abyss that the seemingly simple act of choosing a new course is far more easily said than done.

And then there's the regulatory challenge: As I previously predicted here on Natural News, I fully expect Monsanto and the FDA to team up and try to block Whole Foods from pursuing its announced goal of mandatory GMO labeling by 2018. We, the activists who made all this happen in the first place, may need to rally our troops to support the RIGHT of Whole Foods to demand honest label compliance.

See, this is uncharted territory. To my knowledge, no large food retailer has ever stepped on the toes of the FDA like this. Food labeling is the FDA's territory, but Whole Foods has, with this announcement, effectively become its own FDA in regard to food labels. You can bet the FDA is steaming mad over this usurpation of their regulatory power, and they are going to fight this in ways that we can only begin to imagine.

This is ultimate going to come down to a legal battle between the FDA and Whole Foods, and it's not even clear that Whole Foods will win. That's why we need to keep pushing for state laws against GMOs right now. The Whole Foods labeling effort may be shut down by the FDA with claims that Whole Foods cannot "regulate food labels."

I'm going to call Jonathan Emord on this one and see what his opinion is on the matter.

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About the author:Mike Adams (aka the "Health Ranger") is a best selling author (#1 best selling science book on Amazon.com) and a globally recognized scientific researcher in clean foods. He serves as the founding editor of NaturalNews.com and the lab science director of an internationally accredited (ISO 17025) analytical laboratory known as CWC Labs. There, he was awarded a Certificate of Excellence for achieving extremely high accuracy in the analysis of toxic elements in unknown water samples using ICP-MS instrumentation. Adams is also highly proficient in running liquid chromatography, ion chromatography and mass spectrometry time-of-flight analytical instrumentation.

Adams is a person of color whose ancestors include Africans and Native American Indians. He's also of Native American heritage, which he credits as inspiring his "Health Ranger" passion for protecting life and nature against the destruction caused by chemicals, heavy metals and other forms of pollution.

Adams is the founder and publisher of the open source science journal Natural Science Journal, the author of numerous peer-reviewed science papers published by the journal, and the author of the world's first book that published ICP-MS heavy metals analysis results for foods, dietary supplements, pet food, spices and fast food. The book is entitled Food Forensics and is published by BenBella Books.

In his laboratory research, Adams has made numerous food safety breakthroughs such as revealing rice protein products imported from Asia to be contaminated with toxic heavy metals like lead, cadmium and tungsten. Adams was the first food science researcher to document high levels of tungsten in superfoods. He also discovered over 11 ppm lead in imported mangosteen powder, and led an industry-wide voluntary agreement to limit heavy metals in rice protein products.

In addition to his lab work, Adams is also the (non-paid) executive director of the non-profit Consumer Wellness Center (CWC), an organization that redirects 100% of its donations receipts to grant programs that teach children and women how to grow their own food or vastly improve their nutrition. Through the non-profit CWC, Adams also launched Nutrition Rescue, a program that donates essential vitamins to people in need. Click here to see some of the CWC success stories.

With a background in science and software technology, Adams is the original founder of the email newsletter technology company known as Arial Software. Using his technical experience combined with his love for natural health, Adams developed and deployed the content management system currently driving NaturalNews.com. He also engineered the high-level statistical algorithms that power SCIENCE.naturalnews.com, a massive research resource featuring over 10 million scientific studies.

Adams is well known for his incredibly popular consumer activism video blowing the lid on fake blueberries used throughout the food supply. He has also exposed "strange fibers" found in Chicken McNuggets, fake academic credentials of so-called health "gurus," dangerous "detox" products imported as battery acid and sold for oral consumption, fake acai berry scams, the California raw milk raids, the vaccine research fraud revealed by industry whistleblowers and many other topics.

Adams has also helped defend the rights of home gardeners and protect the medical freedom rights of parents. Adams is widely recognized to have made a remarkable global impact on issues like GMOs, vaccines, nutrition therapies, human consciousness.

In addition to his activism, Adams is an accomplished musician who has released over a dozen popular songs covering a variety of activism topics.

Click here to read a more detailed bio on Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, at HealthRanger.com.

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