Whole Foods Breaks Five Year Long Promise To Consumers


Paul A. Lauto, Esq. received his Juris Doctor from New York Law School in 1990.  In 2002 Mr. Lauto established Paul A. Lauto, PLLC (Now located at 565 Route 25A, Suite 207, Miller Place, NY 11764; (631) 928-1430; www.liattorney.com), with a primary concentration on personal injury, all types of accident cases and more. 
    In 2013, Whole Foods proclaimed in altruistic fashion, that it would lead the way in helping consumers regain the right to know what is in their food; by promising to require GMO labels on all products by 2018. Although taking 5 years to implement this new policy was suspicious to say the least, Whole Foods was praised for their consumer friendly and Anti-Monsanto efforts.  In reliance of and reward for the GMO label promise Whole Foods made to consumers, shoppers flocked in good faith to Whole Foods notwithstanding their sometimes unreasonably high prices.  
    Today, 5 long years later, with the Whole Foods GMO label implementation date fast approaching, under the relatively new ownership of Amazon has broken their promise by putting their GMO label plans on hold. Whole Foods claims they put their GMO label policy on hold out of consideration for their suppliers. That in the event the USDA ever finalizes their own GMO label policy which is currently a slow work in progress, Whole Foods did not want to burden suppliers with complying with two different sets of label requirements.  
    This proffered excuse appears both specious and insulting at the same time. Suppliers have had 5 years to adjust to different label requirements in this matter. To suggest that suddenly more time is needed just because the fickle fingered USDA is considering their own label requirements, is both disingenuous and lacking in credibility.
    Furthermore, Whole Foods maintained that one of the main reasons for the new GMO label policy was to help consumers regain the right to know what is in their food, as promised by Barack Obama in his initial presidential campaign but did not deliver. By failing to live up to their promise to consumers, their altruism seems all but non-existent.
    In addition, the GMO label requirements currently being contemplated by the USDA, do not include all genetically engineered products and would merely require a QR code on the label.  Consumers would have to scan the QR code with a smart phone and then be directed to a website in order to determine what is in the food. Such requirements by the USDA, if implemented, are far weaker than those contained in the halted Whole Foods GMO label policy and therefore give no credible reason for pause.  
    Amazon acquired Whole Foods approximately one year ago and has made advances for consumers by lowering some prices and offering discounts. However, by failing to implement the Whole Foods GMO policy that was a long 5 years in the making; they appear to give with one hand and take with the other. In the end it is the consumer that loses and big business who once again wins.