Natural Foods Merchandiser
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Retailer Roundtable: Do we need more or fewer food labels?

From GMOs to GF and HFCS, these natural retailers sound off about food labeling, with transparency triumphing yet again.

Doug Zilm, General manager of Silver City Food Co-op in Silver City, N.M.Doug Zilm
General manager of Silver City Food Co-op in Silver City, N.M.

We absolutely should begin labeling genetically modified organisms. People want to know what they are eating and should have all the facts to make product choices. If GMOs are such a good thing, then the companies that use them should be proud to put that on their labels rather than fighting against it.

Cassie Reddin, Owner of Mr. Nutrition in Fort Smith, Ark.Cassie Reddin
Owner of Mr. Nutrition in Fort Smith, Ark.

Food labels should better identify ingredients that lack nutrition, such as high amounts of sugar, high-fructose corn syrup and GMOs. Labels need to be simple enough that all age groups, even kids, can read them. Words on the backs of packages that no one can pronounce are bad for the natural foods industry.

Bob Kleszics, President of Harvest Market in Hockessin, Del.Bob Kleszics
President of Harvest Market in Hockessin, Del.

I supported Proposition 37 in California until I read Joel Salatin’s book Folks, This Ain’t Normal (Center Street, 2012). I’m still pro-labeling and pro-verification of products, but I’d like to see it come from private entities like the Non-GMO Project rather than big government programs like the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Consumers can’t simply trust that the government or other people will take care of it for them.

Arthel Vincent, Manager at Bonanza Health Foods in Billings, Mont.Arthel Vincent
Manager at Bonanza Health Foods in Billings, Mont.

We need more detailed labels on gluten-free foods. For gluten-sensitive customers, and for me, when you see natural flavors on a label, you’re not sure if you can eat that food. Breaking down exactly what the natural flavors are and how they were processed is important. Companies often need to condense product labels, but every ingredient should be listed.

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