Should Grocery Chains Join Trader Joe's, Whole Foods in Banning GM Salmon?

After heavy lobbying by Prop. 37 backers, major retailers have agreed not to sell a genetically engineered salmon that is nearing approval from the Food and Drug Administration after 17 years of development.

In the days and weeks after Proposition 37, the statewide ballot measure calling for the labeling of genetically engineered foods, was defeated in the 2012 election, many of its proponents vowed to fight on, blaming voters' 51-49 rejection of it on the nearly $50 million raised by food giants like Monsanto, DuPoint, PepsiCo, General Mills and Kellogg to defeat it.

Those Prop. 37 supporters have done just that over the past five months, taking their anti-GMO campaign directly to retailers to convince them to refuse to sell some GMO products and label all products containing genetically engineered ingredients.

That effort paid dividences earlier this month, as both Trader Joe's and Whole Foods Markets, along with Aldi stores in the eastern half of the U.S. and PCC Natural Markets in Washington state, agreed not to sell a genetically engineered salmon that is nearing approval from the Food and Drug Administration after 17 years of development, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Whole Foods, which ramped up its support of Prop. 37 in the days before the Nov. 6 election, took the move a step further and announced that it would become the first retailer in the U.S. to require labeling of all genetically modified foods sold in its stores, a move that some experts said could radically alter the food industry, according to the New York Times.

Whole Foods President A. C. Gallo told the Times that the new labeling requirement, to be in place within five years, came in response to consumer demand. “We’ve seen how our customers have responded to the products we do have labeled,” Gallo said. “Some of our manufacturers say they’ve seen a 15 percent increase in sales of products they have labeled.”

Most of the biggest supermarket chains are not participating in the ban on genetically engineered salmon, and have shown no indications that they'll follow Whole Foods and Trader Joe's. 

So is the anti-GMO campaign moving the needle or simply reaching out to the already converted? Will other grocery chains follow? Should they? Answer in the comments, telling us why or why not.

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Dan Manassau April 04, 2013 at 01:31 PM
Let the consummer decide. Humans have been cross breeding and adjusting for thousands of years. Some probably still think the earth is flat. I am against the few denighing the many.


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