Trader Joe's, the Monrovia, Calif.-based natural foods retailer that operates 131 stores in 15 states, announced last November it will "work with any vendor to produce private-label products ... without genetically engineered ingredients" and that it will reformulate current Trader Joe's-labeled products to make them non-GMO and so certified within a year. The company said it is making changes because the majority of its customers preferred non-GMO products. About 800 different items carry a Trader Joe's label, according to the company's Web site.
In its announcement, Trader Joe's said it would randomly test compliance among its vendors, though it added, "It is not possible for any supplier or retailer to realistically offer any guarantee that their products are GMO-free," because there is no system in place in the United States to thwart contamination. The company called on its customers to contact the Food and Drug Administration and Department of Agriculture to voice their concerns about GMO issues.
Meanwhile, Wild Oats Markets of Boulder, Colo., reiterated, in a public statement last November, its support for limiting antibiotics use in food-producing animals. The company cited a study published last year in the New England Journal of Medicine that linked antibiotics in chicken, pigs and cattle with treatment-resistant bacteria in poultry and beef products. Wild Oats said it would continue its policy of carrying only antibiotics-free meats.
Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXIII/number 1/p. 7