Whole Foods Market to Offer Non-GMO Private Label Food Products

Whole Foods Market announced, last week, its commitment to the Non-GMO Project‘s Product Verification Program (PVP) for its private labels. The majority of these non-GMO-certified products will hopefully be offered in the Canadian stores — currently in B.C. and Ontario — of this natural and organic foods retailer.

Call your nearest Whole Foods to inquire.

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Press Release from Whole Foods Market:

Whole Foods Market® Partners with Non-GMO Project to Label Company’s Private Label Food Products Using New Third-Party Standard

Whole
Foods Market Encourages Other Retailers & Branded Product
Manufacturers to Make Similar Commitment to Non-GMO Food Supply Chain

AUSTIN, TX (July 7, 2009) — Whole Foods Market
(NASDAQ: WFMI), the leading natural and organic grocer, today announced
a commitment to the Non-GMO Project -a non-profit collaboration of
manufacturers, retailers, processors, distributors, farmers, seed
breeders and consumers – to use the Non-GMO Project’s Product
Verification Program (PVP) in connection with Whole Foods Market’s
private label products.

The PVP is the nation’s first system designed to scientifically test
whether a product has met a set of defined standards for the presence
of genetically engineered organisms.

“From the moment GMOs were approved for use in the U.S., we
recognized the need for transparency, but there was no definitive
standard by which to evaluate or label products,” said Margaret
Wittenberg, Whole Foods Market global vice president of quality
standards. “We searched high and low for years for a way to do this and
now, thankfully, the Non-GMO Project has answered that challenge by
creating a standard and a practical system by which manufacturers may
measure their products. At last, shoppers concerned about foods made
with genetically modified ingredients will be able to make informed
choices.”

According to the FDA, as much as 75 percent of processed food in the
United States may contain components from genetically modified crops.
Despite the abundance of products with genetically modified
ingredients, a Pew Initiative study on Food and Biotechnology shows
that 59 percent of Americans are unfamiliar with the issue of
genetically modified ingredients in food.

“In 30 other countries around the world, including Australia, Japan
and all of the nations in the European Union, there are significant
restrictions or outright bans on the production of GMOs, due to
environmental impact and concerns about GMO safety,” said Megan
Thompson, executive director of the Non-GMO Project.

While Federal law requires organic producers to comply with certain
non-GMO requirements identified in the USDA organic standards, there is
no standard for labeling GMOs in non-organic products.

The Non-GMO Project is a non-profit organization dedicated to
allowing consumers to make informed choices and to working toward the
sustained availability of non-GMO options. Whole Foods Market is a
member of the group, which is a collaboration of manufacturers,
retailers, processors, distributors, farmers, seed breeders and
consumers. Together these members have established a working standard
and have developed North America’s first independent third-party
Product Verification Program.

The PVP uses a process that combines on-site facility audits,
document-based review and DNA testing to measure compliance with the
standard. For a product to bear the seal it must undergo a process
through which any ingredient at high risk for genetic contamination
-soy or corn, for example- has been shown to meet the non-GMO standard
through avoidance practices and testing.

Once a product has been approved through the PVP it can be described
as being verified by the Non-GMO Project and/or be labeled with the
Non-GMO Project’s compliance seal. The first Whole Foods Market private
label products to bear this seal are expected to be in stores before
the end of the year.

“Since there is no U.S. regulation regarding disclosure on products
manufactured with GMO ingredients, we are committed to helping our
shoppers make confident choices by knowing that what they are buying
has been verified as meeting the standards of the non-GMO Project” said
Michael Besancon, senior global vice president of purchasing at Whole
Foods Market. “We are excited to partner with the Non-GMO Project, and
we strongly encourage other manufacturers and retailers to act now and
submit their products to the PVP as well. Taking a stand together will
make a more significant impact on our overall food supply, which will
help the environment and consumer choice in the marketplace.”

Whole Foods Market applauds The Natural Grocery Company, The Big
Carrot Natural Food Market and Good Earth Natural Foods, the early
partners of the Non-GMO Project, and the companies that have lent major
support to the project and participated in the initial piloting of the
PVP including Eden Foods, Organic Valley, Lundberg Family Farms,
Nature’s Path Organic and United Natural Foods, Inc.  Together with
numerous other companies and organizations, they created an
authoritative non-GMO standard.

Whole Foods Market invites the industry to join an educational webinar on Wednesday, Aug. 26 at 1 p.m. CDT, to learn more about the Non-GMO Project and the PVP.  Webinar details are available at www.wholefoodsmarket.com/nongmoproject.

“As you can imagine, the level of diligence involved will require an
enormous amount of effort at every step in the manufacturing process,”
said Joe Dickson, Whole Foods Market quality standards coordinator and
Non-GMO Project board member. “The more participation we have in the
program, the more rapidly the industry will realize efficiencies.
Economies of scale will ultimately have a real and lasting impact on
the available supply of non-GMO ingredients.”

Since 2004 Whole Foods Market strives to offer private label
products made with ingredients that have not been genetically modified.
 By using a system that includes the evaluation of products,
ingredients and manufacturing facilities through audits, on-site
facility inspections and testing, Whole Foods Market is furthering that
commitment.

###

Read Whole Foods’ original press release here:

http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/pressroom/2009/07/07/whole-foods-market%C2%AE-partners-with-non-gmo-project-to-label-company%E2%80%99s-private-label-food-products-using-new-third-party-standard/

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