We have to raise awareness surrounding the prevalence of genetically modified organisms that exist even in the foods natural products stores sell. There’s a false sense of security in buying from co-ops. If a product isn’t organic, there’s a good chance it contains GMOs. We educate customers through our website, newsletters and social media. In Vermont, some version of a mandatory labeling bill will arise again, and we will formally support it.
—Kari Bradley, General manager of Hunger Mountain Co-op in Montpelier, Vt.
We’re still getting over the disappointment—and for some of my customers, the shock—of California’s Proposition 37 failure. I really think it’s going to take some work to get GMO labeling legislation passed. Clearly, the forces lined up against it have a lot of money. I don’t think we have to outspend them, but it really will take a lot of money to get the message out that labeling is the right way to go.
—Scott Otte, Operations manager at Country Sun Natural Foods in Palo Alto, Calif.
We need to keep educating. Putney’s residents are well educated and have a history of being strongly independent. Our customers want to know what’s in the food they eat and where it comes from, so it makes sense that they also support labeling. We provide information through our Facebook page and our six-times-a-year publication, The Beet.
—Robyn O’Brien, General manager of Putney Food Co-op in Putney, Vt.
Groups representing the natural products industry must support mandatory GMO labeling. Period. The Natural Products Association’s decision to oppose Prop 37 was deeply disappointing, damaging to the movement and to NPA’s reputation, and based on biotech industry spin. We’re never going to get a perfect bill, citizen’s initiative or ballot measure, so we can’t let the perfect become the enemy of the good—we’ve got to support what we can get.
—Ben Martin Hors, Grocery buyer at LifeSource Natural Foods in Salem, Ore.