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The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

11 Basic Ways to Shop If You’re Avoiding GMOs

Whole Foods Market® supports your right to know what’s in your food. We are diligently working with over 100,000 supplier partners to bring you full transparency in labeling GMO products in our stores by 2018. We have many non-GMO options in our stores now and will continue to add more. Here’s how to shop if you’re choosing to avoid GMOs. 

1. Go organic!

The USDA National Organic Standards prohibit the use GMOs.

2. Look for the Non-GMO Project Verified seal 

Third-party verification that a product is made without the intentional use of GMO ingredients. You can find over 4,800 Non-GMO Project Verified products in our stores!

3. Choose Our 365 Everyday Value® brand

All plant-derived ingredients in our 365 brand are sourced to avoid GMOs. Please know that if a 365 product has meat, eggs or dairy ingredients, they could be from animals that were given GMO feed — unless the product is organic or Non-GMO Project Verified.

4. Eat Your Fruits and Veggies

Most fresh produce is non-GMO; sweet corn, Hawaiian papaya, edamame, zucchini and yellow summer squash are the only produce items currently grown commercially from GMO seed*. We are working to provide verified non-GMO versions of these in our produce departments.

* Some GMO versions of apples and other crops are being tested but are not currently approved to be planted for commercial production. GMO versions of tomatoes and potatoes have been approved for planting, but are not currently in commercial production.

5. Check the Source on Meat, Eggs and Dairy

Milk, cheese, eggs, beef, chicken and pork could all be from animals that were given GMO feed. Choose organic or Non-GMO Project Verified.

6. Consider the Additives

The five most prevalent GMO crops of corn, canola, soy, cotton and sugar beets end up as additives in all kinds of packaged foods as corn syrup, oil, sugar, flavoring agents, thickeners and other ingredients. Over 70% of the packaged foods in the US have GMOs. Choose organic or Non-GMO Project Verified.

7. Feel Good About Frozen

Most frozen fruits and vegetables are non-GMO. Frozen fruits and vegetables without additives are good non-GMO choices unless from one of these five high-risk crops: sweet corn, Hawaiian papaya, edamame, zucchini and yellow summer squash. Choose organic or Non-GMO Project Verified for those five.

8. Go for Dry Grains, Beans, Nuts and Seeds

As long as you avoid corn and soy, choosing dry beans, grains, nuts and seeds is a great way to go non-GMO.

9. Go Wild

Some farmed fish eat GMO feed. Choose wild-caught seafood or farmed oysters, mussels and clams (they aren’t given supplemental feed).

10. Drink Responsibly

All wine and beer labeled either "organic" or "made with organic" or “Non-GMO Project Verified” must use non-GMO yeast. Wine grapes and the grains used to make beer are not typically GMO.

11. Be Informed

Currently, these are the only US crops grown commercially from GMO seed: alfalfa, canola, corn, cotton, Hawaiian papaya, soy, sugar beets, yellow summer “crook-neck” squash and zucchini.

Do you have a favorite non-GMO product? We’d love to hear about it.


Learn more at GMO: Your Right to Know.





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Kristen Mower says …

Your website has highlighted areas (look like links), but they don't lead you to direct information about that item. E.g., I wanted to know if you have EGGS from farms that allow outdoor grazing and which do not feed them GMO products. I found a section on Eggs, and clicked on a link, but ended up at a page of info on many topics, vs. a direct discussion of the egg sources you use. If you don't have info on the exact topic, maybe you can indicate that in the link you DO provide, so we don't waste time...e.g., put Gen. Info. on such links or something like that. Point 2 would be that it would be nice to know if WF does try to get eggs from chickens that ACTUALLY GET OUT DOORS to graze eh? I've seen some where they have zillion chickens inside and little tiny doors for some lucky few to escape to a pasture...they can say free range or whatever, but it's really a lie, eh?, so if WF could include such info that would be great. After all, we're counting on you to lead the way on better food (big burden I know!). GMOs could be the end of our health, eh, so kudos for trying to aid info that will help those who care to AVOID them! Thank you and keep up the good work :-) .

Amy says …

The list of GMO fresh fruits and veggies and the ones being tested is very interesting. Thanks!

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@KRISTEN - Thank you for your feedback and our apologies that the tips above were confusing. Since the products in our stores differ, we do not have an online database of products available in each store. We do offer a list of Non-GMO products available at each store. You can find more info about how to find the list for your local store at http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/service/non-gmo-project-verified-products-list.

marc says …

Thx for healthy food at good prices. I am in your store weekly and appreciate your guidance on avoiding GMO's.

ELLIE says …

Thank you for this article 11 Basic Ways to Shop If You're Avoiding GMO's. An important issue for me.


I ask Whole Foods to SUPPORT initiative 522 in Washington for Labeling of GMOs. You guys need to be on our side against Corporate giants like Monsanto! Please help!

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@PEDRO - We definitely support Yes on 522 and the consumer's right to make informed decisions! You can find more info at http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/support-522-washington-state.

Maria Bechis says …

Thank you. This is very helpful. I always buy the 365 Brand and Organic when possible. I buy your Wild Salmon and am very happy that you carry it. I am concerned about meat. I know you carry organic chicken but it is sometimes difficult to find. Best Regards, Maria

Fran Maroney says …

Do you carry gluten free foods?

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@FRAN - You bet! Most of our stores should carry gluten free items. Our products can vary between locations so check with your local store if you are looking for a particular GF item.

Alma says …

I love this market .

Maureen Chasson says …

I am very concerned about GMO's and I try never to buy any product that may contain them. I think the majority of people that shop at Whole Foods do so because they believe that if they purchase something there, it has to be good for you. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. I think alot of people are not aware of the hazards of GMO's, what they are, and that they are in fact in MANY of the foods/products that are available in the store. Example... why are the olives that you can buy packaged at Whole Foods packed in CANOLA oi? Many of the prepared foods contain soy or canola oil? I am a DAILY Whole Foods shopper and it is very disturbing to me that I have to read the labels on EVERYTHING, even products that are made in house.

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@MAUREEN - For any products that we make in-house, we use a non-GMO verified canola oil.

Danielle says …

In the "Be Informed" section it has a list of US crops approved to be grown from GMO seeds, what about products that are imported and sold in the US? Although I try to shop as locally as possible, we do occasionally buy produce from other countries in the winter months.

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@DANIELLE - It really depends on the country they are being imported from. If the country of origin has a ban on GMOs, then they should not contain GMOs. Otherwise, there's really no way of knowing until we have our GMO labels up and running. In the meantime, I would suggest looking for organic items, even if they are imported, they must meet USDA organic standards and cannot contain GMOs.

Bernita says …

I shop at a Canadian Whole Foods. Which Canadian crops are grown commercially from GMO seed?

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@BERNITA - I was able to find that there are 4 crops grown in Canada (http://www.cban.ca/Resources/Topics/GE-Crops-and-Foods-On-the-Market). The organic standards will be similar to that in the US in that anything labeled as organic cannot contain GMOs.

Dan Kuhlmann says …

If I could be an honorary team member and not really work, or get paid, I totally would! I love your Company and the info you provide. Thanks!

Kevly Layton says …

This article pictures about how to keep away from GMO and is really of great use to everyone.....

sue martinez says …

Do you test for heavy metals in your products. I request the orgin countries of all goods in organic bulk area Thank you Sue

Emily Zawacki says …

What a great article. Thanks for the very helpful info. When shopping, I'm always looking for the non-GMO certified products. Thanks again.