Whole Foods Commits to GMO Labeling of Food in Five Years: Activists Sing Hosannahs!

The upscale food grocer Whole Foods Market has just issued a press release declaring that it will require that all of its suppliers either to find sources of ingredients not made from biotech crops or else label their foods as containing such ingredients. From the press release:

Whole Foods Market commits to full GMO transparency by giving supplier partners five years to source non-GMO ingredients or to clearly label products with ingredients containing GMOs.

Today, we stood up for the consumer’s right to know by announcing that all products in our US and Canadian stores containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) must be clearly labeled within five years. We heard our customers loud and clear asking us for GMO labeling and we are responding where we have control: in our own stores.

We are the first national grocery chain to set a deadline for full GMO transparency. By 2018, we will require our supplier partners to label products containing GMO ingredients, and we will work in collaboration with them as they transition to sourcing non-GMO ingredients or to clearly labeling products with ingredients containing GMOs.

Sigh. Retailers can either try to educate their customers about products - in this case about the scientific consensus on the safety biotech crops - or they can ratify the fears engendered by activist disinformation campaigns. In response to the Whole Foods' announcement, the Environmental Working Group lobby shop issued a press release applauding this step:

“Today’s announcement by Whole Foods will give consumers the information they need to make the right choice for their families. Whole Foods recognizes that consumers want to know more, not less, about their foods,” said Ken Cook, president of EWG and a board member of Organic Voices, a national nonprofit organization. “This announcement will add new urgency to efforts to require GE labeling in more than 20 states and put new pressure on the Obama administration to fulfill the promise that then-presidential candidate Barack Obama made in 2007.”

Whole Foods certainly has the right to contract as it wishes with its suppliers, but it is disheartening that the company supports scientifically specious mandatory labeling regulations.

As I have suggested earlier, food companes could well end up following the example of food processors whose products "may contain nuts." Simply slap a label on everything saying: "This product may contain ingredients from modern biotech crops." Pretty soon for most consumers, including those shopping at Whole Foods, such a label will go in one eye and out the other with little effect on their purchasing decisions.

For more background, see my column, "The Top Five Lies About Biotech Crops."

Disclosure: John Mackey, the co-founder of Whole Foods Market, is a donor to the Reason Foundation which publishes this website.

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  • LTC(ret) John||

    Just playing to their proggie customer base. I suspect that

    "As I have suggested earlier, food companes could well end up following the example of food processors whose products "may contain nuts." Simply slap a label on everything saying: "This product may contain ingredients from modern biotech crops." Pretty soon for most consumers, including those shopping at Whole Foods, such a label will go in one eye and out the other with little effect on their purchasing decisions."

    is exactly what will happen.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Of course they are. There's a lot of money to be made in taking advantage of the stupid. I'd jack the prices up for my certified-not-GMO products.

    I'd also start a line of low-dihydrogen monoxide foods.

  • Ron Bailey||

    PL: You mean "freeze-dried" foods?

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Don't be so gauche! Go with the low-dihydrogen monoxide label.

  • Pro Libertate||

    You know nothing about scare-marketing, Ron.

  • sarcasmic||

    Know how to really confuse a WF employee?
    As them to direct you to the inorganic food aisle.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Carbon-free or bust!

  • ||

    My dad is huge on the organic thing. I've made enough jokes about loving silica-based tomatoes that he doesn't bring it up anymore.

  • Pro Libertate||

    No feed I.

  • entropy||

    Inorganic foodstuffs:

    1) Salt
    2) rice cakes (secretly made of styrofoam)
    3) Um... glass shards? My dog use to eat those.

  • SKR||

    calcium chloride although I guess thats a salt too. lol

  • Way Of The Crane||

    I'm still waiting for Pepsi to be the first to label their sodas as "The Only Soft Drink Certified to be Urine Free".

  • Hyperion||

    Except in Latin America. They pee in their drinking water there, so I am supposing that Pepsi is at least some percentage of pee.

    Not sure about in Europa, but I am betting that the Germans will want their Pepsi to be at least 50% pee.

    Only superior Murikans will want this urine free Pepsi.

    I think we can safely say that this is a limited market idea.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    I am seeing a whole lot of endorsements for Ke$ha.

  • ||

    I think you're lowballing the Germans with 50%.

  • GILMORE||

  • Lisa G. Wyrick||

    as Edith said I cannot believe that some people able to make $6029 in 1 month on the internet. have you read this site link... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=diP-o_JxysA

  • Sevo||

    Edith's a liar.

  • phandaal||

    "Just playing to their proggie customer base. I suspect that."

    Exactly. Whole Foods is a master of presentation. Their customer base will eat it up, and their CEO will be laughing all the way to the bank.

  • ||

    Simply slap a label on everything saying: "This product may contain ingredients from modern biotech crops."

    The nut thing is only for the tiny percentage of the population with nut allergies.

    Progs make up a big chunk of the population. I'm guessing that many Whole Foods customers will either boycott foods labeled like that, or pay considerably less for it. So, the suppliers will find it profitable to make sure that they can use the No GMO label.

  • Bobarian||

    "This product does not contain ingredients from modern biotech crops."

    "It does, however, contain a significant risk of salmonella poisoning and is guaranteed to contain a significantly lower number of nutrients, consume significantly higher number of resources to produce, and cost significantly more to purchase"

  • grrizzly||

    I have little but contempt for enviro-fundies, but it's hard for me to object to demands for more product information. Especially hard if it's done by a private company fulfilling the wishes of its customers.

  • Ron Bailey||

    grizzly: I did write:

    Whole Foods certainly has the right to contract as it wishes with its suppliers, but it is disheartening that the company supports scientifically specious mandatory labeling regulations.

  • Hyperion||

    What is it with you guys today, trying to defend your own writings?

    You could just pay us to do it, I'm not too busy today. But I have to warn you, the Kochtopus pays well, we right wing extremists don't work for peanuts.

  • $park¥||

    You forgot to label your comment.

  • JW||

    This comment may contain nuts.

  • Scarecrow Repair||

    Teabag!

  • Dweebston||

    Whole Foods can't "ratify" anyone's fears, but they can charge the fearful a premium for peace of mind.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    ^THIS^

    God Bless 'em, I hope they wring the craven for every plug nickle they can.

  • Tman||

    It is disappointing that Whole Foods "supports scientifically specious mandatory labeling regulations" but they have a customer base to appeal to, so I understand their position. I don't agree with it, but I get it.

    What I love though is that Whole Foods from a labor operations standpoint is pretty anti-union and Mackey has been vocal about his opposition to card check and binding arbitration -"binding arbitration is "not the way we normally do things in the United States" and that allowing workers to organize without a secret ballot "violates a bedrock principle of American democracy."

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/.....01449.html

    I like Mackey, but aside from specialty items that you can't get anywhere else in town, you have to be out of your fucking mind to shop for normal groceries at WF. $5.99 for a green bell pepper? No thanks.

  • sarcasmic||

    I know people who honestly believe that more expensive always means better. So they will shop at WF because it is the most expensive place to shop, and mock those who try to save money. Seriously. Liberalism truly is a mental disorder.

  • Tony||

    I can't get decent cheeses anywhere else. Maybe a standalone shop somewhere I haven't discovered yet.

  • Pro Libertate||

    They were handing out samples of some sort of basil-something-something cheese that was delicious. So good, in fact, that I broke protocol and had two. Then I saw the price and actually felt compelled to buy a very small quantity for $10, since I probably ate that much in samples.

    They do have good cheese, though, ridiculously priced or not.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Publix actually carries a decent amount of higher-end and import cheeses, too. Not like Whole Foods, but they don't want their customers running out screaming from sticker shock.

    Fresh Market in the South has some of the same stuff.

  • sticks||

    You can always buy your cheese on the internet.

  • Pro Libertate||

    What's it cost to have higher-end cheese shipped to me?

  • sticks||

    20 bucks on the low side I think. Some shops might offer free shipping with orders over a certain amount. I usually try to split an order with a friend to minimize the shipping costs. I've bought from la tienda, igourmet and gourmetfoodstore in the past with no complaints.

  • Tony||

    Ir I could shop at Whole Foods.

  • nonluddite||

    HEB, but I doubt that you live in Texas.

  • Pro Libertate||

    We usually only get stuff there we can't easily find elsewhere.

  • Hyperion||

    Yep. But there are some nice specialty items, like you said. And also for whatever reason, milk is cheaper there than anywhere else except for Wegmans, where it has been 2.69 a gallon, compared to 3.99 most other places, except for Whole Foods, where it as $3 last time I checked.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Fucking Trader Joe's continues to deny Tampa its essence. Sarasota is as close as they've come, with the next location in the stupid capital. What is it again? Pierre?

  • Hyperion||

    We have 3 within 20 miles of us that I know of, the closest one is probably about 5 miles.

    We don't shop there much, I buy the majority of our produce and a lot of seafood at the Asian market. I like Fresh Market for beef, it's expensive, but really high quality stuff.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I like Fresh Market, too, but only for stuff they have that I can't easily get elsewhere for less.

    Trader Joe's isn't a one-stop shopping place for me, but they're great for their cheap and decent-quality store brands.

  • ||

    I like WF branded items, they tend to be reasonably priced for the quality. Their tonic water is delicious.

    Wegmans... where are you upstate NY?

  • Hyperion||

    Murland

  • ||

    Hadn't realized they'd spread so far. No wonder Danny Wegman has such a nice house on Canandaigua Lake.

  • Hyperion||

    The Wegmans we shop at is in Columbia. It's freaking huge, has it's own parking garage, and a buffet style restaurant.

  • Proprietist||

    They've generally got a nice craft beer selection and their bakery's pretty good. As it's the closest store to my house, I end up there often at great pain to my wallet.

  • ||

    I applaud Whole Foods here. Increase the information and let their customers decide. Iow, carry the GMO stuff, but make sure it's labelled. I feel the same way about organics.

    So what if GMO fears are baseless? If consumer want to know, and many do, Whole Foods is catering to them by requiring labels but not making the stupid decision to stop carrying GMO foods. I'd go to Whole Foods and pick out the GMO foods. More power to the consumer.

  • Shùn Yú||

    I have to agree with Dunphy (the real one), more info to the customer is always a good thing.

  • Pro Libertate||

    While I'd probably do the same thing Whole Foods is doing, the fact is that there's nothing showing that GMO food is unsafe. Labeling like this does help fortify the not-entirely-rational fears about GMO foods--"Look, they warn you about it on the label, must be a problem."

    You could just as easily label products for being evil spirit-free.

  • ||

    Sure. But as far as I can tell, there is no consumer pressure to do so. There IS for GMO's

  • Pro Libertate||

    Non-irradiated food. Non-space-raised food. Food grown only by oppressed workers.

  • Ron Bailey||

    D: But what about the company's support for scientifically baseless mandatory GMO labels?

  • ||

    So WHAT if they are scientifically baseless. Consumers (some) want to know. And I also accept that I could be wrong about this, or anything. There's an infinitessimal chance there is a rationale for GMO fear. Either way, they increase info for the consumer and let the consumer decide.

  • Ron Bailey||

    D. Mandatory is the key here - would you go along with mandatory labels specifying "union made" or "fair-traded" or "minority-owned firm" or .... the list can go on and on.

    Voluntary labels responding to customer desires are different (even if scientifically stupid).

  • trshmnstr||

    This is voluntary in the sense that you can choose one of many other grocery retailers to sell your food at if whole foods requires something you don't want to comply with.

  • trshmnstr||

    Of course if i scrolled down another 2" i would've seen where you explained that mandatory meant mandatory.

    I'll go get a coffee and subject myself to 20 lashes.

  • ||

    Isn't it only mandatory in the sense that Whole Foods won't do business with you if you don't label? It's not like Mackay is using the governments guns to make these producers label, right?

  • ||

    Nevermind. I can't read AND I has a sad.

  • Jason S.||

    Where does it say Whole Foods supports mandatory labeling? Can't find the relavant info at the links. I'm probably an idiot but so what.

  • Jason S.||

    Never mind, just read comments below. Have a great day.

  • ||

    Simply slap a label on everything saying: "This product may contain ingredients from modern biotech crops."

    Well of course they should slap a label on everything, because I'd be pretty fucking surprised if there was a single thing in a grocery store today that wasn't "genetically modified." I'd be pretty fucking surprised if there was anything in a grocery store 50 years ago that wasn't genetically modified, and I'd be surprised if very many things the average person was eating 100 years ago weren't genetically modified.

  • Shùn Yú||

    I'd be pretty fucking surprised if there was a single thing in a grocery store today that wasn't "genetically modified."

    Define "genetically modified."

  • ||

    Define "genetically modified."

    This^

    *Glances at Gladass, my Labrador, and then out the window at my garden with freshly planted hybrid tomatoes and peppers*

  • Hyperion||

    It's different. The modifications you are speaking of were done by poor barefoot peasants in a field.

    Now, it's being done by evil korporashunz in a lab, funded by big oil, and the Kochtopus, giving the veggies bad karma.

  • phandaal||

    No wonder my carrots tasted so exploited.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Whole Foods certainly has the right to contract as it wishes with its suppliers, but it is disheartening that the company supports scientifically specious mandatory labeling regulations."

    When you wrote that "the company supports...mandatory labeling regulations", did you mean they're supporting this by caving in and requiring labeling from their suppliers?

    Or did you mean they're actively supporting inflicting mandatory labeling regulations on their competitors in some other way?

  • ||

    Yea. Good question

  • Ron Bailey||

    D: The company favors mandatory GMO labeling. See my response of Ken Shultz. See also my response to your earlier post above.

  • ||

    Thanks for the info

  • Ron Bailey||

    KS: Can't quote the whole press release is a blogpost. From the release:

    While the US and Canada still have no labeling laws, more than 60 countries do. However, many US states are currently considering mandatory labeling initiatives, like the one in Washington state, where 500,000 citizens signed a petition last year to move the initiative the next step to their state legislature for consideration. Whole Foods Market supports that ballot measure in Washington and hopes it and other such state initiatives will finally lead to one uniform set of rules in support of the consumer's right to know.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Whole Foods Market supports that ballot measure in Washington and hopes it and other such state initiatives will finally lead to one uniform set of rules in support of the consumer's right to know."

    WFMI has a comparative advantage in sourcing and distributing such things.

    They have an advantage in that their customers aren't as price conscious as their competitors' customers, too.

    I bought my first WFM stock back in the mid-1990s when it was still WFMI (Thank you, WFMI!), but this would seem to indicate that they're not the growth play they once were. If they don't think they can grow their market to justify their 32 p/e without resorting to this kind of rent seeking...

    Then what do I know about their growth prospects that they don't know?

  • Proprietist||

    His link implied but did not clarify that they backed the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act.

    Mandates are wrong, but I see nothing to criticize here. "Scientific consensus" does not always reflect fact, as Galileo could tell you. In the event a specific GMO food turns out to be dangerous in the long term, it would be nice for customers to have the option to avoid it.

    I don't like blanket statements like "GMO food is safe" because research still has a long way to go. I think there are many benefits to GMO agriculture, both economically and health-wise, but increasing the quantity and quality of information should not be feared or scoffed at.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Supporting mandatory government regulation that helps you and hurts your competitors is indefensible.

    I see nothing wrong with Whole Foods differentiating themselves by willingly labeling their GMO food--I shop there extensively because they label their allergy warnings so carefully on prepared foods, which is awesome!

    But if they're actively supporting government regulation in both California and Washington State, then that isn't differentiating themselves in the market. That's using the government to lash out at your competitors.

    Shame on Whole Foods!

  • Tony||

    Supporting mandatory government regulation that helps you and hurts your competitors is indefensible a natural outcome in a capitalist system.

  • ||

    Supporting mandatory government regulation that helps you and hurts your competitors is indefensible a natural outcome in a capitalist corporatist system.

    How right you are!

  • Dweebston||

    Was

  • Dweebston||

    Ugh. Squirrels. Was about to post precisely that, but refreshed first.

  • ||

    Always a wise choice, young squirrel-baiter.

  • Tony||

    Government will always have regulatory power. That's its job.

    How do you prevent private interests from gaming that to their advantage (which is a perfectly rational thing to do in a free market)?

    Yeah, more government restriction on the private sphere. Sorry.

  • ||

    Not all regulation is legitimate, shithead. Those regulations we consider illegitimate are usually part of what we call "corporatism", asshole. And don't pretend you're sorry, you disingenuous fuckhead, we both know you're practically moaning in glee over another intrusion on voluntary interaction.

  • Tony||

    You're basically saying there won't be cronyism in a pure market because magic.

  • Whahappan?||

    Exactly, the less the government is involved in the free market, the more the EVIL KORPORASHUNS!!! will engage in corporatism. I mean, it's obvious, the weaker government is, the easier it is for the government to skew the market in favor of BIG EVIL KORPRORASHUNS!!! You libertarians are so stupid to not get this.

  • ||

    See Government regulation of energy production and Captain Zero's administration.

    No Tony, that is a quality of fascism, socialism, and cronyism. Not capitalism, or of the free market.

  • Dweebston||

    Up is down, black is white! Freedom means control!

  • ||

    God you're stupid.

  • Sevo||

    Tony| 3.8.13 @ 3:55PM |#
    "Supporting mandatory government regulation that helps you and hurts your competitors is indefensible a natural outcome in a capitalist system."

    Since it's the government that has the guns here, it's a very good reason to remove the government from the mix, right, shithead?

  • Tony||

    Food labels will be the least of your worries in a failed state.

  • Proprietist||

    To clarify, I'm with you - they shouldn't be supporting rent-seeking laws even if it is just pandering to their customers. But I'm more questioning why skeptics of GMO foods are "activist disinformation campaigns" rejecting scientific consensus, even though scientific consensus has been proven wrong time and time again? The consumer is totally at the mercy of the industry, which may have interests contrary to those of their customers that they don't have to disclose.

  • Ken Shultz||

    If Whole Foods' customers only want food that's produced by Krishna monks and blessed by card carrying Scientologists--because they think it's better for them--then Whole Foods should feel free to sell those customers whatever the hell they want (and charge 'em up the yin yang for it).

    But Once they start trying to use the government to force everyone else to do the same, I'm not as enthusiastic a customer as I used to be.

    I can tell you I'd rather have food that was grown the old-fashioned way (which is why I grow some myself), but I can't swear up and down on a scientific basis that everyone else would be better off if they ate non-GMO food, too. It's a preference of mine, and I've never really felt it's necessary to defend it--any more than my preference for root beer over ginger ale.

    But then until people like Whole Foods started supporting government regulations forcing my preferences on other people, there wasn't much reason to defend my preference for...root beer.

    Shame on Whole Foods!

    Yeah, I prefer *maybe* healthier, even if it costs me more money--but if people care more about their money than their health, who am I to force my preferences on them? The idea that everyone else should have to live their lives according to my tastes is the beginning of all authoritarianism.

  • ||

    Or, more likely, they can stop selling their products at Whole Foods.

    What is easier?

  • JW||

    Sigh. Retailers can either try to educate their customers about products - in this case about the scientific consensus on the safety biotech crops - or they can ratify the fears engendered by activist disinformation campaigns.

    I think Mackey knows that trying to educate the luddites is a fool's errand and instead, he has embraced the idea of fleecing the GMO paranoids for their hard earned cash.

    See: cat, skinning, multiple methods.

  • Tony||

    There is broad scientific consensus that genetically modified food is just as safe as non-GM food. (Why everyone here suddenly finds a broad scientific consensus persuasive when they don't in other fields is a mystery, but whatever.)

    Furthermore GM foods are obviously the future of food, just as GM humans are the future of humans. But there could very well be a niche consumer, particularly one prone to shop at a place called "Whole Foods," who, for whatever reason, prefers foods that were only genetically modified by natural selection. A sort of authenticity thing.

  • ||

    " There is broad scientific consensus....(Why everyone here suddenly finds a broad scientific consensus persuasive when they don't in other fields is a mystery, but whatever.)"

    We dont. Why would you even mention this? It is not a very clever way to bait us.

    There is also a broad scientific consensus that gravity exists, that our blood carries oxygen, and that the earth orbits the sun. We dont use the scientific consensus in evaluating any of those theories.

    If a scientific consensus developed regarding a theory that....say...the earth is warming up to catastrophic levels because of social inequality we would just look at a fucking thermometer Tony and say..."Nope. It isnt. That theory is bullshit, consensus be damned."

    You really just dont get it do you? Do you have any idea what I am talking about?

  • Sevo||

    "Do you have any idea what I am talking about?"

    Are you kidding? You think shithead is about to even consider a concept that threatens his moral infancy?

  • Tony||

    Sounds like you're saying you think you're smarter than the world's scientific community and that your thermometer carries better data than they have access to.

  • ||

    I am saying that I can look at the data too, and I can look at the world around me, and what I am seeing does not match the conclusions you or your fake consensus draw.

    Consensus doesnt have a goddamn fucking thing to do with science you thieving shithead.

  • Bobarian||

    People with genetically modified mouse brains should recognize that the issue here is with WF supporting mandatory labelling rather that voluntarily labelling the food they sell.

  • Proprietist||

    But Bailey's a bit unclear on the line there by criticizing the "activist disinformation campaigns" Whole Foods is apparently folding to with their private labeling mandate, rejecting "scientific consensus". Tony is rightly pointing out that as we around here tend to be skeptical of the AGW "consensus", it's hard to use "consensus" as a rational argument against private labeling of GMO foods.

  • ||

    I'm honestly not sure when I ask this, but wasn't a lot of the skepticism I see here about whether there actually IS a broad scientific consensus on global warming? I seem to recall some claims that disputing scientists and science were ignored or delegitimized in order to claim there was a consensus.

  • Proprietist||

    So you think the "consensus" among the scientific community that GMO foods are perfectly safe is universally accepted?

  • ||

    I don't know, I was just asking a question. That's why I said I'm honestly not sure, I didn't have an ulterior motive for it.

  • Proprietist||

    I'd say in both cases there is a significant enough group of dissenters to make the topic of "consensus" highly debatable. In my opinion, consensus should be the opinion of at least 95% of professional scientists specialized in the field in question.

  • ||

    Thanks.

  • Bobarian||

    Nobody is (or at least not me or Bailey) is arguing against private labelling, I take this as WF arguing for enforced labelling.

  • Proprietist||

    Sigh. Retailers can either try to educate their customers about products - in this case about the scientific consensus on the safety biotech crops - or they can ratify the fears engendered by activist disinformation campaigns

    Sounds like criticism towards private labeling in the name of "scientific consensus" to me.

  • ||

    Bailey isn't skeptical of the AGW "consensus" and he's the one that used it in his article. Tony accusing "us" of liking the consensus on GMO is just so much bullshit. Like every other day.

  • Tony||

    So you're admitting you choose what you believe in based on your political beliefs? Seems to be the case around here. "Whatever dirty hippie liberals believe, I'm gonna believe the opposite!" Rigorous skeptical thinking, that.

  • ||

    Dude, you responded to the post where I said using "scientific consensus" as a basis for believing something is not good, whether or not you agree with the end issue. So no, it's not "OMG dirty hippies!"

    I believe what can be proven to be true and you can't prove that there is anything anthropogenic about global warming because you don't add in all of the variables of the very complex system. It has fuck all to do with my politics. I wouldn't expect you to understand that since you are a braindead demfag who only cares about TEAM.

    (Oh, and 75 out of 3,000 survey respondents doesn't equal 98% of climate scientist, so there isn't even consensus where you say there is.)

  • ||

    Claiming a broad scientific consensus as evidence you're right on a topic, then ignoring a broad scientific consensus on another topic, is hypocritical. Our mention of that consensus is for highlighting this hypocrisy, but you already knew that. You just don't care.

  • DaveAnthony||

    Because there is a difference between "scientific testing has shown no adverse effects from GM foods" and "our models can't predict shit but we're certain they are correct". Not sure why this is so hard to understand.

  • Tony||

    I understand perfectly well. You have willfully neglected to avail yourself of scientific literature and journalism on the subject of global warming, preferring fringe conspiracy theories instead.

    It's okay. Everyone who believes in fringe conspiracy theories rejects the mainstream view, by definition.

  • ||

    Like the old fringe view that the Earth revolved around the sun, not the other way around? Fuck off, sockpuppet.

  • ||

    There is broad scientific consensus that genetically modified food is just as safe as non-GM food. (Why everyone here suddenly finds a broad scientific consensus persuasive when they don't in other fields is a mystery, but whatever.)

    If you say, "GMO food is unsafe", the burden of proof is upon you to prove your assertion. The rest of us don't need a scientific consensus one way or the other on the assertion you made.

    Same with "global warming is caused by people and is harmful and government must do something about that, and is capable of doing something cost-effectively". You're making the assertion, you have the burden of proving each and every point of that assertion or we can ignore you.

  • Tony||

    And that burden has been more than adequately satisfied in the case of global warming.

    Not that counterclaims aren't just as positive and even more outlandish (giant global conspiracy blah blah).

  • ||

    Giant? No. Global? No. Conspiracy? Debatable. Never underestimate the power of uncoordinated self-interest, even when that means lobbying the government for illogical and immoral regulations.

  • Mickey Rat||

    "Why everyone here suddenly finds a broad scientific consensus persuasive when they don't in other fields is a mystery, but whatever."

    Why liberals don't find a broad scientific consensus persuasive here but insist people who don't in other fields are ignorant and evil is a mystery as well. I suppose Bailey is too subtle for you.

  • ||

    Whole Foods....always some story about Whole Foods. Never Kroger, Ford's, Super 1, Albertson's or Mac's Fresh Market......

    I have never set foot in Whole Foods and doubt that I would given the chance, but I am guessing the reason for this is their customer base is chock full of insufferable, smug, self absorbed pricks who obsess over what they and everyone else consume.

  • DaveAnthony||

    Or you know, it's full of people who prefer to pay a little more to get better quality meat and produce.

    I don't begrudge anyone for shopping at Giant or Harris Teeter, and go there myself when it's more convenient. But overall, yeah, I prefer to shop at a place that has better quality controls and employees who are friendly and give a fuck.

    I also love Trader Joe's, but that's not really for health reasons. They have the best junk food.

  • ||

    "... it's full of people who prefer to pay a little more to get better quality meat and produce."

    That is fine if they want that, they should have it, but why the incessant bitching and whining? Why is Whole Foods always the focus of these issues?

  • ||

    That is fine if they want that, they should have it, but why the incessant bitching and whining? Why is Whole Foods always the focus of these issues?

    see this at the end of the article: "Disclosure: John Mackey, the co-founder of Whole Foods Market, is a donor to the Reason Foundation which publishes this website."

  • ||

    Ahhhhhhhh. Mystery solved.

  • ||

    I like trader joes for the cheap wine and coffee, and the high-end chocolate.

  • ||

    May I recommend their Uncured Applewood Smoked Bacon?

  • califernian||

    This story is about a free market success.

    This is exactly how it's supposed to work. A consumer advocacy group pressures a business into giving them what they want. No laws required. End of story.

  • Proprietist||

    Yes, which makes Whole Foods' support for regulatory mandates all the more idiotic - if they prove they can do it privately and they believe that is a competitive advantage for their market demographic, no reason to force Tom Thumb and Kroger to label. Their competitors' lack of labeling will likely strengthen their market share.

    Logistically, however, I don't see how they could do it without much higher prices. Many food manufacturers get their ingredients from many different suppliers, so consistency will be very difficult, and I see it being a big problem for the smaller food and beverage companies that don't have the sway to get the necessary information from their suppliers.

  • Fluffy||

    This will collapse of its own weight.

    It will work for produce, but for very few other things. (Mainly foods processed largely by the grower with only one main ingredient - things like olive oil.)

    GMO's are too entrenched in the supply chain. I double dog dare defy anyone to find any processed food that includes corn or any product made with corn that can warrant that it's GMO-free. This will be even more true in a few more years.

    The best way to defeat people who are obsessive-compulsive freaks about contamination is to contaminate everything and then say, "Fuck you. You can deal, or you can die. Pick." And the GMO crop producers have done exactly that, at least in North America. So they win.

  • Proprietist||

    As I said above, it's also going to hurt their mom-and-pop processed food suppliers disproportionately. I'm curious what this will do to their craft beer selection as well. As of right now, there are few brands of "organic" beer, so expecting every craft brewery to know every ingredient's genetic history seems a bit overboard.

  • Mr Whipple||

    When consumers see how much cheaper GMOs are, they won't really care anymore.

  • AAnderson||

    So you're saying that instrumental rationality is the modus operandi of people of the United States? Communicative rationality is out the window?

  • Mr Whipple||

    I think more times than not, people are going to choose with their wallets based on what they (the individual) perceives to be the best "value".

  • ||

    People who think like that are not going to be regular shoppers at Whole Foods.

  • Mr Whipple||

    Well, of course, that will be the next gripe.

    Teh pour peeple kan't efford it, so wee must subserdize it!!!

  • AAnderson||

    This is great news. Kudos to Whole Foods for supplying what their customers want--information and transparency about their products. This is why, among other reasons, I voted for Gary Johnson--he supported such labeling! As a consumer I would like to know if the food I consume is grown from a seed created through millions of years of evolution or from a seed genetically modified to alter the planets ecology. Hopefully Monsanto, Cargill, etc (all products of government subsidies) are shitting their pants right now. Well, they're actually probably shitting in their clients' meat or the local water system.

  • califernian||

    -- Not believable that you are a Gary Johnson supporter based on the rest of your post.

  • AAnderson||

    Gary Johnson 100%. Calling for a Johnson/(Rand) Paul 2016 ticket.

  • ||

    Johnson, I believe, is actually in support of mandatory labelling laws. I find that silly and reprehensible, but it is what it is.

  • ||

    No, see my link below.

  • ||

    I interpret his statement there as being in support of mandatory labelling for GMOs, but it's possible he isn't. It all depends on if he thinks GMO labelling counts as a safety issue.

  • ||

    I think he said that labeling is good but he does not want to mandate it. He is clearly labeled as neither pro nor con.

  • ||

    He says that while he's generally not in favor, "public safety" is a legitimate function. I don't see any way to take that other than him saying that mandatory labelling for public safety is ok with him. Which in light of his answering the GMO question, would most likely mean he's in favor of mandatory labelling for GMO foods.

  • AAnderson||

    Look up his Colorado University(?) video on YouTube for a clarification on his position.

  • ||

    "I voted for Gary Johnson--he supported such labeling!"

    Easy to google.
    http://2012election.procon.org.....nID=001771

  • AAnderson||

    "For millions of Americans in similar situations, knowing what we are eating is not a matter of preference or convenience; rather, it is an issue of basic safety."

    It's clear that he distinguishes between "preference or convenience" and "basic safety." I suppose the interpretations go from here.

  • ||

    Yes. In my experience these kinds of nebulous statements are employed when a politician believes something contrary to what his base believes, or contrary to his own basic beliefs, i.e. an attempt to deal with congnitive dissonance.

  • ||

    Also cognitive dissonance....that too.

  • Sevo||

    Here's a prize example of scientific stupidity, right here in the commentariat:

    "As a consumer I would like to know if the food I consume is grown from a seed created through millions of years of evolution or from a seed genetically modified to alter the planets ecology."

    Way to go, Anderson! Great case study in illiteracy!

  • ||

    yeah, I kinda choked when I read that one too. Magical thinking.....

  • Mickey Rat||

    "Kudos to Whole Foods for supplying what their customers want..."

    It does not matter what their customers want is useless and prejudiced fear-mongering?

  • Azathoth!!||

    As a consumer I would like to know if the food I consume is grown from a seed created through millions of years of evolution or from a seed genetically modified to alter the planets ecology

    Then, by all means let me tell you. Nearly all of the food you consume is genetically modified in one way or another. Most of our modern crops are the result of inbreeding, crossbreeding, hybridizing and all manner of other methods to genetically alter them to produce the most, tastiest food for us.

  • ||

    The one thing I would say Ron is that consensus is not science and I don't think using it to support GMO or AGW does anything for those two issues. Either the testing and investigation we have right now shows that they are okay or it doesn't.

  • ||

    I agree with this. Consensus can always be broken by new evidence. In light of this, I don't think that such a consensus should be counted as meaningful.

  • AAnderson||

    Therefore if the science goes back and forth, shouldn't consumers be allowed to know what is in their food? Some may think GMOs are good things, some may not and based on your argument it seems rational to inform the consumer based on this skepticism.

  • ||

    As long as you aren't using the government to force the labeling. WF is more than capable of negotiating it's own contracts and trying to get producers to label the way they want without using Uncle Sugar's legislative processes.

  • AAnderson||

    I absolutely agree. That's what WF did--based on consumer preferences, so bottom up rather than top down and yet everyone's panties are in a wad. Even if WF is pandering to their customers, they are targeting their market. Smart, smart business.

  • BW||

    Well said.

  • ||

    See Ron Bailey's post at 3:36. They aren't doing it from a bottom up direction, they actually support the top down solution, that's what the wadded panties are about.

  • ||

    My belief that consensus doesn't make something more true has nothing to do with mandatory labelling, and I have no idea why you would think it supports your argument. Forcing a company to label something when there is no verified reason to believe it's dangerous isn't rational, and shouldn't be done. If you want them to, convince them. You have no right to force them.

  • Tony||

    I would be with Ron and against mandatory labeling for GM foods.

  • ||

    Great for you, now fuck off.

  • Tony||

    Consensus is consensus. As in, if most experts agree about something, it's really up to you to prove them wrong.

    I hear this nugget of wisdom thrown around here almost as if to suggest that the existence of a scientific consensus is a strike against the findings, which is absurd.

  • ||

    CONSENSUS IS NOT SCIENCE.

    And please, you don't support scientific consensus. You support whatever supports your foregone conclusions. Even if it's proven that your precious consensus doesn't even exist.

  • Tony||

    Bullshit rightwing conspiracy theories aren't science either.

  • ||

    Neither are bullshit environmental fearmongering.

  • Tony||

    Agreed. But I'm talking about where current science is.

  • Mr Whipple||

    And where is that? Are they still saying saccharin causes cancer?

  • Tony||

    How do you people survive even a normal day?

  • Mr Whipple||

  • ||

    Nice strawman you got there. Sure hope it doesn't catch on fire.

  • ||

    The existence of scientific consensus is indicative only of what the scientists believe about the evidence, it doesn't actually make any findings more or less valid. Even with consensus it's always up to the people making affirmative claims to prove their claims. Having a consensus doesn't make those claims automatically proven.

  • Tony||

    Nothing is ever "proven" in science, there is only a case to be made based on the evidence. If that case is accepted by a wide majority of experts, then it's as proven as you can reasonably expect. Global warming is more "proven" than a hundred other things you accept readily. You just have a sad, propaganda-fueled conspiracy theory that comes from political bias. Sciency-sounding pseudo-skepticism is not your security blanket. This is the age of the Internet. Figuring out what are reliable sources and then what the current science is on something isn't that fucking difficult.

  • ||

    If the case made isn't based on evidence but on unreliable models, you haven't proved shit.

  • Tony||

    There's plenty of evidence, you're just ignoring it.

  • ||

    It is clear Tony that you have zero understanding of science.

    Stick to what you know and try and peddle fascism.

  • Tony||

    Well I don't have your thermometer, which can apparently tell you all you need to know about climate science.

    It's Friday so I won't carry on to suggest where your knowledge of biology might come from.

  • ||

    Mostly from in-depth looks at biological processes in controlled environments, the findings of which are then published. What findings from controlled environments are climate models made from?

  • Tony||

    I was going to guess by fucking farm animals. But interesting point, since only a small amount of our knowledge about the history of biology (evolution) comes from laboratory observation, since evolution takes place over very long periods of time. Indeed there is probably much less direct observational evidence of evolution than there is of climate change. How many of you are more skeptical of evolution than climate change?

  • ||

    Actually evolution can take place in relatively short amounts of time and has been documented in laboratory experiments (involving fruitflies). Since your primary source of information apparently comes from fucking farm animals, I wouldn't expect you to be scientifically literate.

  • ||

    Shhh, you're interrupting the narrative. All libertarians are anti-science because....consensus.

  • Tony||

    You're not antiscience except incidentally. Even Heaven's Gate members I'm sure were OK with science that didn't directly bear on their cult beliefs.

  • ||

    Yeah, we're the ones in a cult. You make me laugh sometimes Tony.

  • Mr Whipple||

    This whole organic/anti-GMO shit started in the hippie communes by people who were too lazy and too cheap to buy pesticides and fertilizers, and needed a marketing scam to justify their higher prices because their crops couldn't produce as much.

  • ||

    This.

  • BW||

    I grew up on a farm, went to college for agriculture, was a state certified pesticide applicator, yada yada... In college I learned, not only how plants grow, etc., but also that Monsanto appeared to be the major scholarship and internship source for agriscience majors. I don't know about y'all, but I could smell some cronyism cooking. And I'm by no means a progressive.

    Knowing that, I prefer to eat food that is as natural as possible. I don't really want a poison producing gene from a tobacco plant in my corn if my corn can be grown without it.

    Also, John Mackey is pretty cool, they treat the employees well and a lot of their food is unique and tastes great. They've got the best pimento cheese around.

    So that's my 2 cents.

  • ||

    "I prefer to eat food that is as natural as possible."

    Natural....If something exists, it is natural.

    Organic....A molecule that typically consists of carbon atoms in rings or long chains, where other atoms (e.g. hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen) are attached.

    I am skeptical of your claims BW.

  • BW||

    Basically, if you have to have a chem suit to use it and a permit to buy it, I don't really want it on my food. Doesn't matter if it's certified organic or not. Many pesticides are engineered to stick to the plant even in rain.

    So if I have the option to get food that hasn't been sprayed, I prefer that but I'm not going to assume a fetal position and weep if none are available.

  • Mickey Rat||

    So you prefer rice with weevils, got it.

  • ||

    The pimento cheese is outstanding.

  • ||

    So if an organization gives scholastic aid for a major that would be beneficial to them, it's suspicious? That makes no sense at all. Pretty much every major considered useful by an industry gets money from said industry.

  • BW||

    Is it a stretch to believe that if an industry could be damaged by scientific research that the industry would spend the money to train scientists in a way that is favorable to that industry?

    As I said, I studied plants (agriculture). I didn't study biotech. I made an observation based on what I know about plants and pesticides, how they function, how they are applied etc. and based my decision to eat food without these chemicals on my own observations. I'm not condemning any one else if they don't. I just prefer not to have it and this is why.

  • ||

    That they spend money on professionals they need for their work isn't evidence of poor training, unless you have evidence? I thought not. Apprenticeship-type programs of all sorts exist, and usually no one thinks their mere existence is evidence of unsavory doings. That you do is unsupported and ridiculous.

  • Mr Whipple||

    My Grandfather was a farmer. His father was an Italian immigrant farmer. They preferred not having to use pesticides unless it was necessary, and I prefer my corn as sweet as possible.

  • ChrisN||

    No frankencorn for this vegan and my band of merry collectivist subsistence farmers.

    One day the filthy capitalist pig-dogs and greedy corporations will be washed from the Earth, as will science, technology and all the excess people harming Gaia.

    Gaaaaaarghghhh!

  • Mr Whipple||

  • ChrisN||

    Kudos to Mackey for making his vision work and making a profit.

    Personally, me and Starchild long for the day when the capitalist system is taken down, and all products are natural again. We'll cure our bodies with yoga and herbal non Western medicine, and they'll be a bartering system of goats and promises.

  • ChrisN||

    Actually Whipple, I do support getting rid of farm subsidies, allowing localization of food production, and trying to eat better with an eye towards intelligent farming, some of which includes GMOs.

    It's just that I live in Seattle, and I'm a little too close to collectivist ground zero.

  • Mr Whipple||

    Hey, I live in NJ. We actually still have a few nice family owned farms left in South Jersey. In fact, the largest blueberry farm in the country (maybe the world) is here, Atlantic Blueberry, and it is still family owned. It was started by two brothers selling blueberry plants in their spare time. And the town where I live, if you get a hard on just about anywhere in the city, the tip of your dick will probably be in a roadside stand.

  • SumpTump||

    There is a dude that clearly knwos whats going on and I like it. Wow.

    www.PrivateWeb.da.bz

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