How To Shop

A department-by-department guide.

Produce | Packaged Foods | Meat | Dairy, Eggs & Cheese | Seafood
Wine & Beer | Prepared Foods | Bakery | Body Care & Supplements

Quick Start Guide: How to Shop if You're Avoiding GMOs

USDA Organic Logo

Organic Means No GMOs

The USDA National Organic Standards prohibit the use of GMOs.

 

Non-GMO Logo

Look For A Seal of Approval

Choose products that have been verified non-GMO by a 3rd-party, like the Non-GMO Project.

 

365 Everyday Value® Logo

Choose 365 Everyday Value® brand Food Products

All plant-derived ingredients in 365 Everyday Value® food products are sourced to avoid GMOs. (Note: If a 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 verified.)

 

Eat Your Fruits and Veggies

Most fresh produce is non-GMO. Only five common produce items are currently grown* commercially from GMO seed: corn, Hawaiian papaya, edamame (soybeans), zucchini and yellow summer squash. We source organic or non-GMO versions of these whenever possible.

Check the Source on Meat, Eggs & Dairy

Milk, cheese, eggs, beef, chicken and pork could all be from animals that were given GMO feed. If concerned, choose organic or non-GMO verified.

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. Choose organic or non-GMO verified.

Feel Good About Frozen

Most frozen fruits and vegetables are non-GMO unless from one of these five high-risk crops: corn, Hawaiian papaya, edamame (soybeans), zucchini and yellow summer squash. Choose organic or non-GMO verified for those five and watch out for other ingredients that might be from a risk crop.

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.

* 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.

PRODUCE: How To Shop if Avoiding GMOs

WHAT TO CHOOSE

Very few GMO crops end up in your local produce department. These five are considered to be "high-risk" for GMOs unless they are grown organically:

  • corn
  • Hawaiian papaya
  • Zucchini
  • Yellow summer squash
  • Edamame (soy)

Go organic!

The USDA National Organic Standards prohibit GMOs.

WHAT WE'RE DOING IN PRODUCE

  • We are working to provide verified non-GMO versions of these five high-risk produce items in our stores whenever possible. Please ask us about the source or buy organic.
  • Our Responsibly Grown produce rating system requires growers to disclose use of GMO seeds or plant material so that we can provide accurate information for our customers.
* 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.

PACKAGED FOODS: How To Shop if Avoiding GMOs

Over 70% of packaged food products in North America contain GMOs. To avoid them:

  • Go organic!

    The USDA National Organic Standards prohibit GMOs.

  • Look for a Seal of Approval

    Choose products that have been verified non-GMO by a 3rd-party, like the Non-GMO Project.

  • Choose 365 Everyday Value® brand Food Products

    All plant-derived ingredients in 365 Everyday Value® food products are sourced to avoid GMOs. (Note: If a product has meat or dairy ingredients, they could be from animals that were given GMO feed — unless the product is organic or non-GMO verified.)

  • Feel Good About Frozen

    Most frozen fruits and vegetables are non-GMO unless from one of these five high-risk crops: corn, Hawaiian papaya, edamame (soybeans), zucchini and yellow summer squash. Choose organic or non-GMO verified for those five and make sure there aren’t additives or other risk ingredients.

  • Check the Source on Meat, Eggs & Dairy

    Milk, cheese, eggs, beef, chicken and pork could be from animals that were fed GMO feed. If concerned, choose organic or non-GMO verified.

  • 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. Choose organic or non-GMO verified.

  • 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.

WHAT WE'RE DOING IN PACKAGED FOODS (GROCERY)

  • For several years, we’ve sought out new offerings that are organic or Non-GMO Project Verified.

  • We’ve pioneered products from animals fed non-GMO feed (eggs, yogurt, milk) and launched numerous Biodynamic products, which do not allow GMOs.

MEAT: How To Shop if Avoiding GMOs

WHAT TO CHOOSE

  • Go organic!

    The USDA National Organic Standards prohibit GMOs.

  • Look for a Seal of Approval

    Choose products that have been verified non-GMO by a 3rd-party, like the Non-GMO Project.

WHAT TO KNOW

  • Animals eat soy, corn and alfalfa that can be grown from GMO seed.

  • GMOs are prevalent in the commodity grain market — 94% of soy and 88% of corn crops.

  • There is limited availability of verified Non-GMO feed at this time.

WHAT WE'RE DOING IN MEAT

  • We are working with all of our national suppliers to encourage the use of non-GMO feed, as available and some are doing so already.

  • Some of our local and regional suppliers are in the process of becoming Non-GMO Project Verified. Their size makes it easier for them to work with a small mill to provide non-GMO feed.

DAIRY, EGGS & CHEESE: How To Shop if Avoiding GMOs

WHAT TO CHOOSE

  • Go organic!

    The USDA National Organic Standards prohibit GMOs

  • Look for a Seal of Approval

    Choose products that have been verified non-GMO by a 3rd-party, like the Non-GMO Project.

WHAT TO KNOW

  • Animals eat soy, corn and alfalfa that can be grown from GMO seed.

  • GMOs are prevalent in the commodity grain market — 94% of soy and 88% of corn crops.

  • There is limited availability of verified Non-GMO feed at this time.

WHAT WE'RE DOING IN DAIRY, EGGS & CHEESE

  • We’re working with all of our national suppliers to encourage the use of non-GMO feed, as available.

  • We’ve pioneered new products from animals fed non-GMO feed (eggs, yogurt, milk).

SEAFOOD: How To Shop if Avoiding GMOs

WHAT TO CHOOSE

  • Go Wild. We offer a range of responsibly caught seafood from fisheries that are well managed to maintain healthy fish populations and ecosystems.

  • Chose farmed oysters, mussels and clams. Farming these species doesn’t require any supplemental feed.

WHAT TO KNOW

  • There are no USDA organic standards for seafood yet.

  • Most feed for farmed fish contains grains like corn, soy, or wheat and GMOs are prevalent in the U.S. commodity grain market. However, a significant amount of Whole Foods Market's farmed seafood comes from Europe where GMOs are not as prevalent.

  • There is limited availability of verified non-GMO feed at this time.

WHAT WE'RE DOING IN SEAFOOD

  • We’ve reached out to all of our aquaculture suppliers to discuss GMO ingredients in feed.

  • We are working to launch Non-GMO Project Verified seafood products.

WINE & BEER: How To Shop if Avoiding GMOs

WHAT TO CHOOSE

  • Go organic!

    The USDA National Organic Standards prohibit GMOs.

  • Look for a Seal of Approval

    Choose products that have been verified non-GMO by a 3rd-party, like the Non-GMO Project.

WHAT TO KNOW

  • Grapes and the grains used to make beer are not typically GMO.

  • Wine and beer use yeast in their processing and many commercially available yeasts are GMO.

WHAT WE ARE DOING

  • We continue to support and promote organic and biodynamic wines and organic beers.

PREPARED FOODS: How To Shop if Avoiding GMOs

WHAT TO CHOOSE

  • Go organic!

    The USDA National Organic Standards prohibit GMOs.

WHAT TO KNOW

  • We provide many organic options throughout our prepared foods department, including salad bar items, rotisserie chicken and soups.

  • We use non-GMO canola oil in products made in our stores and our commissary kitchens. (We are working with our vendor partners on this as well.)

WHAT WE'RE DOING IN PREPARED FOODS

  • We’ve communicated with vendor partners about our goal to use non-GMO ingredients when possible.

  • We focus on using our 365 Everyday Value® brand (all plant-derived ingredients sourced to avoid GMOs) wherever possible — including canned and frozen vegetables, beans and tomato products — as well as Non-GMO Project Verified mayo, both egg-based and vegan.

BAKERY: How To Shop if Avoiding GMOs

WHAT TO CHOOSE

  • Go organic!

    The USDA National Organic Standards prohibit GMOs.

  • Look for a Seal of Approval

    Choose products that have been verified non-GMO by a 3rd-party, like the Non-GMO Project.

WHAT TO KNOW

  • Areas of potential GMO risk in bakery include canola, soy and dairy ingredients.

  • The best way to avoid GMOs in these products is either to buy certified organic or to choose non-GMO verified items.

  • Some of our bakehouses are certified organic facilities that ship organic bakery goods to our stores.

BODY CARE & SUPPLEMENTS: How To Shop if Avoiding GMOs

WHAT TO CHOOSE

  • Go organic!

    The USDA National Organic Standards prohibit GMOs.

  • Look for a Seal of Approval

    Choose products that have been verified non-GMO by a 3rd-party, like the Non-GMO Project.

WHAT TO KNOW

  • Due to a very complex supply chain, there are fewer organic and non-GMO verified body care and supplement products than food ones.

  • Despite this complexity, we offer over 600 organic body care products that are certified to the USDA Organic Standards or the NSF 305 Organic Personal Care Product Standards, both of which prohibit GMOs. We also offer a growing number of Non-GMO Project Verified body care products.

  • Higher risk soy- and corn-based ingredients and micro ingredients in supplements are more difficult to address. The supply of non-GMO sources is extremely limited for supplements. We are working closely with the supplement and body care industries to understand the very complex supply chain, identify areas of GMO risk and explore the use of GMO alternatives.

  • While this work takes place, we continue to grow the number of organic and Non-GMO Project Verified supplements we offer.