The introduction in the mid-nineties of genetically engineered crops into the U.S. food supply—with no independent safety-testing or labeling required—sparked a debate over how to drive these unhealthy andenvironmentally destructive “Frankenfoods” off the market.
Some campaigners have called for an outright ban of GE crops. Others argue that strict mandatory labeling laws, similar to those in the EU, are all we need in order to rid the world of GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms).
A review of two decades of anti-GMO campaigning in North America and Europe suggests that mandatory labeling and bans, or GMO-free zones, should go hand-in-hand. And recent news about increased contamination of non-GMO crops by the growing number of USDA-approved GMO crops suggests that if we don’t implement labeling laws and bans sooner rather than later, we may run out of time to protect organic and non-GMO farmers and their fields. Read Ronnie’s essay Support GMO bans and labeling laws
In the spring of 2013, OCA asked consumers to nominate grocers who are doing a great job of protecting their customers’ health by saying no to GMOs (genetically modified organisms). From those nominations, we chose 12 overall winners of our Right to Know Grocers Contest. We call them the “Diligent Dozen.”
The contest proved to be a great way to single out grocers across the country who are doing a heroic job of educating customers about GMOs, providing truthful labels on products containing GMOs, and working with manufacturers to get GMOs out of popular consumer products, including food, supplements and cosmetics.
But the Right to Know Grocers Contest also proved to be a learning experience for us. From our interviews with more than 50 store staff, owners and managers, we learned what motivates them to educate consumers and provide non-GMO alternatives. We also learned about the challenges they face, and the strategies they’ve developed, in their quest to rid their shelves of foods containing GMOs.
We took that information and created the Going GMO-Free Toolkit for Grocers. It includes:
• Strategies for educating consumers • Sample GMO-free policy statements • Sample communications to manufacturers • Instructions for conducting a GMO audit • Insights into the challenges of finding non-GMO alternatives • Success stories
Want to help your local grocer go GMO-Free? Share the toolkit with the store owner or manager, and let us know how your favorite retailer responds!