This past weekend, Dale and I got hungry for some good old fashioned vegetable soup. I like to cook with organic fresh veggies whenever possible, so I went to our local natural food store and bought everything I needed – all organic – for the meal.
The other day, a couple of friends posted on their personal Facebook accounts the link to this “news” story about Whole Foods selling products it knows contain GMOs.
My first reaction that I posted on this link my friends posted was, “Why is this news? I’ve been boycotting Whole Foods for years.” (Although we do not have WF here in Arkansas, I never shop there even when we go back to the city and I stock up on organic products).
However, according to the story in the link above, some people and apparently some of their own employees always assumed that Whole Foods sells nothing but non-GMO products.
I guess if you don’t know the complicated code to food labeling in this country, it would be an easy assumption.
I began learning about this labeling code a few years ago when I did a story for Mother Earth News on Good Natured Family Farms, a co-op of locally owned and operated small family farms in Missouri and Kansas that sells “all natural” meat and dairy products to a large local retailer in Kansas City.
The owner then told me of their quandary in naming the co-op because of the myriad of regulations about “all natural” and “organic” labeling.
I also learned about the tangled mess of regulations, years and costs associated with farmers becoming “organic” producers.
Unless it is labeled “organic,” you cannot be sure that it does not contain GMOs. Like the author of the above article, one thing I noticed when I went into a WF several years ago – you can buy the same processed crap in WF as you can any other store. It is no healthier because it is in WF.
Anyone can be lulled into thinking (or forgetting) to read the labels. Just last year, I learned my all “natural” local food store here was selling organic vegetables that originated in China. Since I do not trust Chinese made goods simply because they do not have the same regulatory standards and because they’ve been caught lying about even poisoning their own people, I was shocked and expressed this to the manager at the store.
Even so, I should have known better to trust that “natural” or “organic” doesn’t necessarily mean “Product of the U.S.” as much as “Whole Foods” does not mean “non-GMO.”
I don’t debate the health risks associated with GMO foods. I simply do not think there have been enough studies done, and the conflicting studies that have been done show some health risks associated with what I like to refer to as Franken Foods.
If you want a complete break-down of food labeling in the U.S., here is a pretty comprehensive list. If you want to know how to avoid foods with the most GMOs and you don’t have access to organics, this post at Attainable Sustainable may help.
Do you shop at Whole Foods? Do these revelations surprise you? Have you learned anything about your all “natural” store that has?