As I head off to the IFOAM Conference in Istanbul, I reflect that October is celebrated as Non-GMO Month. Celebrate we should, the Non-GMO Project has made many remarkable gains. Annual sales of products carrying the Non-GMO Project Verified seal now total more than $8.5 billion, growing more than 20% annually! My local New Leaf Store in Santa Cruz is one of more than 2,000 retailers who are participating in the celebration, bringing awareness and eliminating the presence of GMO ingredients in our food supply.
This is especially important in light of the newConsumers Report tests that found GMO ingredients in many processed and packaged food, including those labeled as natural! When you purchase breakfast cereals, chips, soy infant formulas, and many “NATURAL” products that aren’t organic or Non-GMO Project Verified, it is almost certain that GMOs lurk inside.
The success of the Non-GMO Verified initiative has grown the awareness of consumers who are asking retailers to give them information about the products they buy. At this time, more than 22,000 Non-GMO Project Verified products, representing more than 2,100 brands, are available to give consumers that knowledge. As more independent retailers, co-ops, chains and conventional markets join the movement, change is happening throughout the entire supply chain. Demand for non-GMO commodity crops is at an all-time high and many manufactures are scrambling to find non-GMO ingredients. It is progress!
Even as we celebrate these wins, there is a David and Goliath battle raging at the state level in Oregon and Colorado. Despite surveys that show over 70% of consumers want mandatory GMO labeling, an enormous amount of money is being poured into anti-GMO campaigns in these two states to fight that knowledge. The battle between the Goliaths’ of the biotech industry and the small companies and consumers is raging right in front of us.
Written by Melody Meyer
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