Whole Foods Market announced today that, by 2018, all products in its U.S. and Canadian stores must be labeled to indicate whether they contain genetically modified organisms.
According to Whole Foods, which made the announcement at the Natural Products Expo West convention in Anaheim, it is the first national grocery chain to set a deadline for full GMO transparency.
"We are putting a stake in the ground on GMO labeling to support the consumer's right to know," said Walter Robb, co-CEO of Whole Foods Market.
"The prevalence of GMOs in the U.S. paired with nonexistent mandatory labeling makes it very difficult to select non-GMO products," he said. "We are increasing our support of organic, and we are working with our supplier partners to grow our non-GMO supply chain to ensure we can continue to provide these choices in the future."
Whole Foods Market currently stocks 3,300 Non-GMO Project verified products--more than any North American retailer, according to the company.
"We're responding to our customers who have consistently asked us for GMO labeling and we are doing so by focusing on where we have control: in our own stores," Robb said. "While we are encouraged by the many mandatory labeling initiatives, we are committed to moving forward with our own GMO transparency plan now."