This October, Choices Natural Market, 6551 E. Riverside Blvd., will join more than 1,500 grocery retailers across North America participating in the fifth annual Non-GMO Month. Created by the Non-GMO Project, this month-long celebration puts a spotlight on a person’s right to choose food and products without genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
“I talk to our customers every day, and they are worried about the spread of GMOs in our food supply,” said Choices General Manager Stephanie Jones. “With GMOs now contaminating as much as 80 percent of conventional packaged foods, we are more committed than ever to helping people find safe, healthy non-GMO choices. We believe people have the right to know what’s in their food, and we will be celebrating that right throughout Non-GMO Month this October.”
During Non-GMO Month, Choices will help shoppers identify Non-GMO Project Verified choices with special shelf tags, end cap displays, and educational materials.
During Choices’ Sample Saturday, Oct. 4, customers will have the opportunity to sample some of the products they offer that have been Non-GMO Project verified. They will also be offering a free screening of the documentary GMO OMG at 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 15, at the Rockford Public Library East Branch, 6685 E. State St. To attend the screening, sign up at the store or on the Choices Facebook page. Seating is limited.
Choices will also be donating 5 percent of its sales Saturday, Oct. 18, to the Non-GMO Project. The Non-GMO Project is a nonprofit organization committed to preserving and building the non-GMO food supply, educating consumers, and providing verified non-GMO choices. They believe everyone deserves an informed choice about whether to consume genetically modified organisms.
The non-GMO category is one of the fastest growing sectors in grocery; with 80 percent of shoppers seeking out non-GMO products and 56 percent saying non-GMO was key to brand buying. This growing awareness is sparking major change in the industry: labeling ballot measures; food manufacturers refining ingredients; retailers announcing their non-GMO purchasing policies; and food service companies inquiring about verification. To date, more than 22,000 products have been Non-GMO Project Verified, with annual sales of these products topping $7 billion.
Public concern about GMOs is rising as studies increasingly raise doubts about the long-term safety and environmental impact of this experimental technology. GMO labeling is mandatory in 64 countries around the world, including Australia, Russia, China and all of Europe, but no such requirements exist in the U.S.
“The right to know what we’re eating and feeding our families is so basic,” said Megan Westgate, executive director of the nonprofit Non-GMO Project. “Americans deserve the same freedom to avoid experimental GMO foods as people in other countries.”
For more information, visit the following links:
• “What is GMO?”, http://www.nongmoproject.org/learn-more/what-is-gmo/
• “Non-GMO Month,” http://www.nongmomonth.org
• “Labeling Survey Results,” http://justlabelit.org/faqs/
• “State Labeling Initiatives,” http://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/issues/976/ge-food-labeling/state-labeling-initiatives
From the Oct. 1-7, 2014, issue