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Whole new way of labeling for Whole Foods

By Mackenzie Wilson
Published On: Mar 13 2013 08:10:56 PM CDT
Updated On: Mar 13 2013 08:11:30 PM CDT

NewsChannel 21's Mackenzie Wilson reports as Whole Foods announces they'll be labeling every product as to whether it has genetically modified ingredients.

BEND, Ore. -

Whole Foods has made an announcement that could change the way you do your grocery shopping. It all has to do with three letters: GMO. They stand for genetically modified organisms and it has to do with how your food is grown.

There's differing opinions on whether GMO are actually bad for you, but Whole Foods says they want people to know if it's in a product either way.

Genetically modified, or not -- our shopping lists usually don't get that specific. But that's what Whole Foods wants you to think about while you fill up your cart.

"The process is just in it's infancy right now," Jason Valdez, a ,marketing team manager for Whole Foods in Bend, said Wednesday.

He says by 2018, every product, from fresh produce to the vitamin aisle will tell you two things.

"Whether they're GMO or non-GMO products," Valdez said.

Critics call the labeling change a PR stunt. Regardless, Whole Foods is beating all other U.S. grocery retailers to the punch.

"I wish places would do it elsewhere," Bend shopper Erin McDonnell said.

Russia requires labels on all products containing GMO to say so. Venezuela has bans on GMO all together. From researchers to shoppers, everyone has a different opinion on whether it's harmful.

"We're not here to say whether it's good or bad. They are products that are carried on shelves in grocery stores all over," Valdez said.

"I'd rather have something that's non-GMO, than not," shopper Steven Van-Si said. "But if I do, I don't think it's going to kill me."

It's not just food that will be sporting the new labels.

"Cleaning products contain corn, they contain soy," Valdez said. "We're going to make sure those are all labeled, GMO, GMO-free."

Some items are already labeled. Valdez says the labeling will be either on "bib tags" that hang from shelves, or directly on the product.

For now, an easy way to search out GMO-free products is to buy organic.

This is not an overnight change, Whole Foods' CEO says within five years, all products will be labeled GMO or GMO-free.

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