By: Scott Faber
Wegmans supermarkets have worked hard to earn the loyalty of consumers worried about the sustainability of their food, offering thousands of organic choices in their stores and making an early commitment to sustainable seafood.
So it’s surprising to learn that Wegmans is supporting a voluntary approach to labeling genetically engineered foods.
Although food companies have been free since 2001 to voluntarily disclose the presence of GE ingredients, not one has told its customers whether the food they’re buying contains GMOs. And fewer than 20,000 products carry a non-GMO label – out of roughly two million in the marketplace.
It’s not clear from its announcement whether Wegmans’ voluntary approach applies to its own store brands.
By contrast, Whole Foods has made a commitment to giving its customers full GE transparency by 2018.
Some people love Wegmans for serving lots of fresh food. But when it comes to GE labeling, Wegmans is serving big food’s leftovers. Want more answers about GMOs? Wegmans suggests you ask Monsanto and Dow – the very people who create genetically engineered foods.
Even more troubling than Wegmans’ failure to give its customers the right to know what’s in their food is its suggestion that genetically engineered ingredients are better for the environment than conventional crops.
The truth is that the widespread adoption of GE crops has increased the use of herbicides over the past few decades. What’s more, overuse of one weed killer designed to work with genetically engineered crops has bred “superweeds” that require the use of an even more powerful weed killer called 2, 4-D.
Because GE crops are specifically designed to withstand weed killers like glyphosate and 2, 4-D, those toxic herbicides been used far more than Monsanto and Dow predicted when GE crops reached the market 20 years ago. Recent proposals to quadruple the amount of 2, 4-D used on GE crops pose serious new health risks.
So much for Wegmans’ commitment to sustainability.
Rather than serving up Big Food’s bologna, Wegmans should serve its customers by joining other food manufacturers and retailers who support giving consumers the same right as those in 64 other countries. After all, 93 percent of people say they want the right to know what’s in their food.