by Paula Hocherl, Alfalfa’s Assistant Front End Manager
One of the farming and food industry’s most critical fights is the one against the giant biotech companies and their genetically modified seeds. These companies are genetically altering the DNA of the food we eat. Americans are ingesting GMO corn, soy, cottonseed, canola, papaya, zucchini, alfalfa and sugar beets without a clear idea of the possible ramifications. Nearly 88% of corn and 93% percent of all soy grown in the United States is genetically modified. These ingredients are in over 70% of our processed foods. Conclusive studies have not been conducted us to understand the potential medical and environmental impacts these crops.
Monsanto, the mightiest of the biotech giants, has persuaded the US Government to not require labeling for GMO ingredients in our food supply. Currently 40+ countries around the world require labeling of GMOs or have a flat-out ban on the production and use of GMOs. The European Union banned the cultivation and sale of GMOs ten years ago. Two states–Maine and Connecticut–have voted ‘Yes’ to require a mandatory label of GMOs.
Alfalfa’s Market was founded on the belief in providing the highest-quality organic and natural foods for our customers and we want to help you make the best food choices. In the absence of federal or state regulation we have decided to take it upon ourselves to label GMOs at a company level. To ensure all new products are GMO-free our Purchasing Director, Shelly Burke, requires each vendor to provide verification of the raw material used in each product. If the vendor cannot provide proof that their ingredients are non-GMO, the product will not make it to the shelf. “There are a lot of companies who are currently changing their ingredient statements to move in the direction of all non-GMO ingredients,” Burke states. “It’s exciting and a pretty big deal on their part”. There are a few products on the shelf that may contain GMOs, and we have carried these products since the store opened. Due to customer demand we continue to carry these products with signage stating “may contain GMOs” informing the customer and allowing them to make their own choices about the foods they eat.
How can you make the choice to avoid GMO’s? Choose organic every time. As defined by government standards, a certified organic ingredient or product cannot be genetically modified. Read food labels, purchase organic products and look for the third party certified Non-GMO Project label on products. Vote with your dollars and support your local organic farmer.