Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

Urgent: Tell the USDA What YOU Think about GMOs in Organics

UPDATE 02/18/10: The comment period has been extended until March 3, 2010  You still have time to have your voice and opinions heard!  The easiest way to send your comments to the USDA is on the True Food Project's Take Action website. ---------------------------------------------------- The U.S. Department of Agriculture is currently considering whether or not to approve the use of genetically engineered (GE) Roundup-Ready alfalfa. Their report says you don't care about GMOs in organics. Comments are due to them by February 16th, so read on to hear how you can help. (Or go directly to the True Food Project's Take Action website.) alfalfa_field As part of the approval process, they are required to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), a detailed analysis of how the crop will affect the environment, organic and conventional farmers, farm animals, and the public. They've released their EIS on GE alfalfa, and here's how the True Food Network at The Center for Food Safety summarized the issue in a recent Action Alert:
In 2006, the Center for Food Safety (CFS) sued the Department of Agriculture (USDA) for its illegal approval of Monsanto's genetically engineered (GE) Roundup Ready alfalfa. The federal courts sided with CFS and banned GE alfalfa until the USDA fully analyzed the impacts of the plant on the environment, farmers, and the public in a rigorous analysis known as an environmental impact statement (or EIS). USDA released its draft EIS on December 14, 2009. A 60-day comment period is now open until February 16, 2010. This is the first time the USDA has done this type of analysis for any GE crop. Therefore, the final decision will have broad implications for all GE crops.
That Environmental Impact Statement, unfortunately, contains a number of questionable statements and conclusions. The part of the EIS that worries us the most is the claim that buyers of organic foods don't care if those products are contaminated with GMOs (genetically modified, or genetically engineered, organisms). We know that nothing could be further from the truth, and that a huge number of our shoppers care deeply about avoiding GMOs in the foods they buy. We've gone to great lengths to keep GMOs out of organic foods and, through our work with The Non-GMO Project, have helped advance North America's first standards and verification program for Non-GMO foods. We are intent on preserving our ability to provide non-GMO options for our shoppers. Every newly-approved GMO crop erodes our ability to provide non-GMO food, and leads to contamination of organic and non-GMO crops, due to pollen drift and other forms of contamination. What can YOU do? The True Food Project has set up a Take Action website to help you easily submit your comments to the USDA. These are due by February 16th so take the time to do it now. Please use the CFS's form letter as a guide and personalize it as you see fit - let the USDA know exactly why you're concerned about this issue, what you think about GMOs in your food, and what you think they should do with the approval of GE alfalfa. In our own comments to the USDA, we emphasized a few key facts:
  • Organic and natural foods consumers do care about the presence of GMOs in their food. In fact, avoiding genetically engineered ingredients is one of the key reasons that shoppers seek out organic foods.
  • The contamination of organic and non-GE crops by GE material has presented a huge burden for our company and our industry.
  • The unchecked proliferation of GE crops will directly harm organic producers and the integrity of the organic label.
  • The approval of GE alfalfa would do more harm than previously approved GE crops, since alfalfa is a perennial crop.
Everyone has their own opinion about GMOs; please tell your story to the USDA via the True Food Project action campaign by February 16th. We'd love to read what you think in the comment section below, but make sure you send your comments to the USDA first!

Leave a reply

To provide feedback or ask a question about our company, a store or a product, please visit our Customer Service page.

For more information about posting comments to our blog, please see our Comment Posting Guidelines.

119 comments

Comments

Scott Feldpausch says …

Organic and natural foods consumers do care about the presence of GMOs in their food. In fact, avoiding genetically engineered ingredients is one of the key reasons that shoppers seek out organic foods. The contamination of organic and non-GE crops by GE material has presented a huge burden for our company and our industry. The unchecked proliferation of GE crops will directly harm organic producers and the integrity of the organic label. The approval of GE alfalfa would do more harm than previously approved GE crops, since alfalfa is a wind-pollinated perennial crop.

Diane says …

Thank you for this information. Going to leave my comments now for the USDA.

SUsan Boyer says …

Can you not leave the best thing we have going alone!!!!!!!!

Sean C says …

I think it's about time that the government finally got involved with the approval of GMO's. It is a long time coming. I think it's ridiculous to think that people don't care about what they are eating. I will definetly be looking into what I can do to make sure that GMO's are either banned or strictly regulated.

Fair Trade says …

I suspect that whatever people think Monsanto will get their way... tragic. GMO is IMO one of the greatest threats to humanity.

Geneve Rege says …

NO GMOs IN ORGANICS

P. S. Blodgett says …

Definitely NO to GMO's in All Organic Foods and all other foods, as well. I think All Organic Products need to have stricter guidelines about what Organic really is. There are too may larger companies now claiming to have Organic products, but are really not all organic. I recently learned that Coleman's Meats was actually purchased two years ago by Meyer's Pharmaceuticals. I will not buy any of their products ever again. I do not trust that their products would still be organic and not filled with GMO's! It is very creepy that a company that makes pharmaceuticals purchased an "Organic Meats" company. Very suspicious, indeed! It does make sense why so many illnesses do not react to antibiotics, and people get sicker. Due to all the antibiotics, hormones, pesticides put into meat and produce, and the environment. people are getting ill through all this contamination. My family and pets eat all organic, and we are healthier than many other people we see around us. Anyone who eats organic knows this too! We also use all natural healing methods, when needed. This is safer and boosts the immune system so it can do what it is meant to do. I will not purchase anything with GMO'S!

Barbara Ortner says …

In order to have a better future for this population, we need to take care of what we put in our bodies TODAY. Organic is the way to go to achieve that, but then how come is 3 times more expensive than toxic food? Please help us. Thank you.

Jon H. says …

To USDA: As a consumer of organic fruits, vegetables, grains, meat, bread, etc. for the health of my family and of guests at my table, I would be outraged if USDA does not take immediate and 100% effective steps to prevent the contamination of organic products by genetically engineered alfalfa and other GE materials. USDA would be grossly irresponsible and potentially criminally liable if it were to allow GE alfalfa. One immediate and costly effect of allowing GE alfalfa would be to put at risk the fastest growing segment of U.S. agriculture today: organic agriculture. GE alfalfa would devastate not only domestic sales of organic products but would very likely make it impossible to export U.S. grown organic products. In addition to this immediate threat to both domestic and export sales of organic products, allowing GE alfalfa would create a long-term health risk to the entire U.S. population. At a time of great public concern over U.S. healthcare costs, it makes no sense to allow GE alfalfa, with the risk that in future years the country's healthcare costs could balloon by billions to deal with the consequences of allowing GE alfalfa. Individually, I will buy imported organic products if the U.S. organic industry is destroyed as a result of USDA allowing GE alfalfa. I have no doubt that millions of other consumers will do the same, with the result that the U.S. organic industry will be driven out of business at a huge cost to the U.S. economy. I beg you to consider not only consumers like myself but consider the thousands of family farmers whose businesses would be destroyed. Finally, please consider the health and well-being of your own children and grandchildren. Do not take an irreversible step by permitting GE alfalfa! Sincerely yours, Jon H. Harsch

Marina C says …

NO GMOs IN ORGANICS

Laura says …

Because it has become increasingly harder to find products that are non-GMO I've begun doing my own gardening and canning with ALL non-GMO seed. It is of great concern that they would even consider allowing GMOs to be sold as "organic". They are mutating our food and as of yet do not understand the effects on our health. Please allow us the option of buying a product that is as pure and un-manipulated as possible. GMO has NO place in an organic market!

jessica carle says …

KEEP GMO'S OUT OF ORGANICS. They have no place in commodity products, and certainly none in organic lines

Joseph Varilone says …

I don't want GMO's in organic food!

cheryl mcafee says …

I care just watch foodinc. dvd what a eye opener.

Andi says …

I sent in a letter, and I hope others will also do so. What floors me is that somewhere, someone actually thought such a stupid statement sounded plausible.

Elliott Kim says …

Introduction of GMO's automatically means it's NOT organic! You can't slip one past us USDA!

Anne Hilliard says …

Stop the GMOs! I am committed to shopping organic. No hormones, no antibiotics, no artificial flavors, no artificial colors, NO GMOs.

Amy Holton says …

"Organic and natural foods consumers do care about the presence of GMOs in their food. In fact, avoiding genetically engineered ingredients is one of the key reasons that shoppers seek out organic foods." Exactly. They will definitely be hearing from me. Thanks so much for placing this so prominently on your website. Otherwise, I'd be completely unaware.

Chuckles Mcgee says …

Fear of genetically modified organisms is an expression of ignorance that represents a step backwards for society. There's nothing inherently dangerous about GMOs, and while proper testing is needed prior to the planting of a crop (as is being done right now by the USDA), the only dangers GMOs pose are in the expression of particular proteins knocked into the new crops and implications that could occur if such crops interbreed with local species. If the proteins are known to be non-allergenic and there's no problem with crossing the crop, by all means do it. Fewer pesticides, higher yields, better returns for farmers and lower prices for the consumer are all potential windfalls.

Deborah Bradford says …

There are enough indications that GE foods can be harmful,that I choose NOT to eat them. It is extremely important to me to know that when I choose organic foods,they are not contaminated by GE crops. There's just TOO much that we don't know about the long term affects of GE food. I believe that in the fullness of time,future generations will look back on GE foods,if we don't curb and control them,and think that we must have been completely out of our minds.

Melinda says …

GMO's are not all bad. Whole Foods you disappoint me. You all need to take some general Molecular Genetic classes.

E. J. Taylor says …

ABSOLUTE NO TO GMOs I have severe food allergies. * Organic and natural foods consumers do care about the presence of GMOs in their food. In fact, avoiding genetically engineered ingredients is one of the key reasons that shoppers seek out organic foods. * The contamination of organic and non-GE crops by GE material has presented a huge burden for our company and our industry. * The unchecked proliferation of GE crops will directly harm organic producers and the integrity of the organic label. * The approval of GE alfalfa would do more harm than previously approved GE crops, since alfalfa is a wind-pollinated perennial crop.

Robyn O'Brien says …

We do not yet know if a child with a milk allergy, the most common food allergy in the US (according to CNN and the Wall Street Journal) is allergic to rBGH, the first genetically engineered food protein, because no human tests were ever developed or run. Nor do we know if a child with soy allergy is allergic to Round Up Ready soy, introduced in the 1990s to withstand the spraying of weedkillers, because, again, no tests were ever developed or run. Rather than engage the 1 in 3 American children with allergies, asthma, autism or ADHD in yet another live human trial and risk the introductio of "alfalfa allergy", perhaps we should enlist the precautionary principal, as other developed countries have done, and wait until these products have been proven safe - rather than continue to proceed because they have not yet been proven dangerous. Our children deserve nothing less.

Rhonda Gendron Murphy says …

Thank you for letting us know about this.. very worrisome indeed.

Danielle Rodriguez says …

Ok where to start....how can these even be a option are u kidding me really.

Jeff says …

1) I don't want anything GM foods in/around organic foods. 2) If you're not informed about GM foods watch, 'The World According to Monsanto' for free online (search the documentary on google). Or you can also search 'Genetically Modified' on Mercola.com - or there's plenty of other articles, books, etc. out there. 3) Take the extra 2 seconds to send in a letter... don't just think that everyone else is going to do it, and that your one doesn't matter!

Marialena says …

Please keep our food source pure. Please be aware of the link between what we eat and our health and the long term impact on everything and everyone. All suffering is related. We are connected to the earth as child is to a mother.

JM says …

Do you not understand what ORGANIC means? The purpose of people purchasing organic produce/food is for them to eliminate and avoid unnecessary junk - hormones, additives, gmos, etc - in their food. Why would you even consider altering Organic? It makes no sense and it should be banned - if we have something to say, we should have the RIGHT to say LEAVE OUR NATURAL FOOD ALONE!!!!

Blakesy says …

PLEASE DO NOT POISON US... WE WANT PURE HEALTHY ORGANIC FOOD.

Traci says …

I thank you for what you are doing, but wish it wasn't necessary. What a state our food system is in when I have to fight for the right to eat food, not food science. Thanks again...tp!

dumont says …

We do not want GMOs in our organic products ! Please don't do that to us and the future generations. Thank you, vg

Natillie says …

I do not want to eat genetically engineered food. I want to eat natural unaltered food.

Dale Karlin says …

I do not want GMOs allowed to be incorporated into foods labeled Organic. Research available states that there may be links between long term ingestion of GMO foods and chronic diseases plus the corporations that control GMOs have demonstrated that they will control world food production through genetic engineering. This is detrimental to the whole planet's ecosystems and to all fauna living in them including human beings.

Laurette Stefani says …

Monsanto is the devil. Sometimes I wonder why I haven't yet moved to the E.U.

Mark Ritchie says …

I do care. Keep your GMO's out of my organics

Rene Vaklis says …

I do not want gm products around/in organic food. Please watch this. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OJcZLXX39KA Take action and write an e-mail. Protect yourself and your families cause no one else will do it for you. We should all at least have a choice to choose gmo products or not. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5eKYyD14d_0&feature=related

MJS says …

My response is a "definitive NO!, as if we don't have enough health problems in this country due to GREED!! I certainly do care about my food being contaminated. It is time to stop allowing companies to do whatever they desire in the name of profits!! USDA will hear from me! Thank you for sharing this information.

Laura says …

Seeds of Deception by Jeffrey Smith Read the reviews http://www.amazon.com/Gmo-Trilogy-Seeds-Deception-Set/dp/0972966536/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1266102577&sr=8-1

Scott Saulsberry says …

GMOs have no place in the organic food industry. USDA - please do your job and take a stand here. It is the right thing to do.

Ben Hardy says …

My grandson (7 yrs old) has Autism. Since the removal of GMOs from his diet, he is almost normal. I urge you to PLEASE do not approve adding anymore of these horrible products to the US consumer market.

c. mcsweeney says …

I am one who is aginst GMOs in food. There is no logical need for it in organics and non-organics. This is a political issue. It is about controling the food, becaouse if you control the food...you rule the world. We have lived off of non-GMO food from the beginning of time. We do not need it now. Plus, there are people who are allergic to it. I feel like we are part of one big science experiment. What if, all food was filled with GMOs? Survival of the fitest I guess. Gotta wonder what our governments intentions are. I keep hearing how over populated the earth is. It's not true! In actuality, the less people there are, the less to control. Yes. I am convinced there are people in power that intend to minimize the population. Look at China! They have their way of doing this. It's just not as cunning. There is plenty of room on this planet for everyone who exists to live peaceably. The problem is that most people want to live in very desireable places. Places in which everything we need and want is easily accessable. Who wants to live in the mountains 100s of miles from civilization. Not many people, including myself. We love accessability and there will always be pople who try to take advantage of this. I am thankful to Whole Foods Market for their efforts in preserving non-GMO natural and organic food, and making them available to us, the public. I pray that there will never be a time when original food becomes extinct. Thanks for reading my comment. FYI: watch "The Future of Food" on www.hulu.com under movies.

Anna Tsentsiper says …

Please please please do not permit GMO's in organic foods. GMO's in organic foods defeats the purpose of what organic foods are supposed to be about. Please think about the interests of the American people over those of Monsanto.

Laura says …

Interesting article on this subject http://www.nogreaterjoy.org/articles/general-view/archive/2010/february/08/science-fiction-horror-story/

A.M. Orenge says …

Some much more notice than just eight days would have sure been nice so info could have been gathered and more than just a quick note prepared to try and stop this horrid action. I'll of course send what I can. I believe that much of the worlds present sickness is due to Monsanto and the other GMO manufacturers and most definitely the GMO crops that the U.S. is selling to our farmers and to the rest of the world is responsible for the collapse of the world's bee colonies and for the death of millions and millions of butterflies and beneficial insects. Next thing we can expect from Monsanto and the U.S. government will be the announcement that they have joined together to form a corporation to manufacture a wonder food and they'll call their corp. SOYLENT GREEN. Let those who have ears to hear, let them hear!

Mishel says …

We do not want gmo’s in our organic foods! This is going to be a huge topic & people will be outraged.

Ruby Valderrama says …

Organic is the only label we can currently depend on to know that the produce has not been genetically modified. If you take that away from the aware and concerned grocery consumer be prepared for everyone who has been complaisant and silent to start to stand up and fight. The fact that using GMOs in Organics is even being considered let's every American know who is truly running the food industry and it isn't the USDA. I say NO to GMOs in Organics and if I am not heard now I will only become more persistent and speak louder until mu voice is heard.

Theresa B says …

This has to stop! We are polluting the few natural crops we have left! What happens when years from now we realize how incredibly bad these GMOs are for our bodies, but it's too late to grow the natural products because the GMOs have taken over every crop. What do we tell our children and grandchildren when they do not even have the option to eat the real thing any more? It seems to me the government is making the choice for us about what to eat. We must take control back and decide for ourself what goes into our bodies. Please stop the proliferation of GMOs.

Diana Horton says …

NO GMO's in any way!!! GMO's is not only ethical and sociological issue that arose recently, it also absolutely will be a health issue, starting with the United States, and Europe. If someone prefers to eat GMO's, it's their choice, but I also want to have a choice, choice to know when, how and with that my food was made. I want it to be a must, to include where the product was genetically modified, what was modified. Also a lot of people say that "we don't know the exact effect of GMO's" on the health effect. Being fluent in several eastern European languages, and having close relations with those countries, I can say that scientists and doctors over there are very cautious and alert on this issue.The main precaution: "Avoid it anytime you can"

BG says …

How come cigarette's need to put a warning sign on the cigarette's, but all these foods with horrible side effects in the ingredients doesn't require a warning? It is scientifically proven, a lot of these ingredients used in foods/drinks lead to severe health defects. Organic & natural foods are the way to go, please USDA, don't start contaminating these foods. People will have to start growing and producing there own food.

Melissa Murphey says …

The whole concept of GMO's in organics is ridiculous. There is nothing organic or natural about something that is genetically modified. Some of us who try to stick to an organic diet do so because of current or impending health issues. The full safety of genetically altered items may not been known until many years from now. In my opinion, genetic modification of anything should not be allowed. Please, do NOT allow GMO's in organics!

Pages