I don’t know how this will come out in terms of the labels. It’s not like we’re going to put a skull and crossbones on it. We’re just going to put a label on it and let people make their decisions. We’re not aiming to be a GMO-free store, but we’re aiming to be a 100 percent transparent store.
For customers who want the non-GMO choices, they can choose right now. Organic, by law, doesn’t allow GMO technologies.
You mentioned that you hope this new policy will spread. Have you heard from others in the grocery industry in the past week? Not just suppliers?
Anecdotally, there have been folks who have reported conversations with folks within other big companies and other trade associations who have said, “We’ve been thinking about this.” The fact is, a lot of our suppliers supply other folks, too. And a lot of companies that supply us have companies that have non-GMO organic brands. What are they going to do? Are they going to do these efforts for just one part of their company? All this is going to bring these questions to the fore within other companies and other suppliers.
There are people who argue that to require labeling would stigmatize food that really hasn’t been shown to be harmful. What’s your reaction to the notion that, by putting on a label, it inherently signals there’s something wrong with [GMO] food?
You could flip that and say that if that’s true, then why would you have a problem labeling it? The fact is, the science is very mixed. Science can be trotted out in both
It’s going to take time to settle some of these questions. Science doesn’t actually settle anything here. Which is why you come back to labeling. At least we can let folks know while we’re waiting to actually see if science is going to render a verdict.
The FDA has made their decision [that GMO crops are “substantially equivalent” to traditional crops], but it obviously has not satisfied people, hence all the activism around this. There’s a lot of concern out there about long-term effects on health and the environment.