Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods is pulling back on their initial plan to require GMO labeling for all foods sold in stores, by September.1 However, A.C. Gallo, chief operations officer, says this isn’t a “permanent cancellation of the initiative.”
Whole Foods announced the mandatory initiative in 2013.
Gallo referred to the “proposed Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard”2 suggested by the USDA as a contributing factor in their decision,
“As the USDA finalizes the federal regulation in the coming months and the food industry assesses the impact, we do not want our policy to pose further challenges for you and your businesses.
While the proposed rule speaks to requirements for disclosing a bioengineered food, it is silent on requirements for making an on-label non-GMO claim. Given the uncertain details of the regulation, we do not expect the verification of non-GMO claims on existing banded products by the previously communicated Sept. 1, 2018 deadline.
Once there is a better understanding of the final federal regulation, we will be able to provide further updates and timelines.”3
We will be watching with great interest to see if Whole Foods keeps their words and their integrity intact.