Genetically Modified Organisms continue to be a hot topic. Although most of the action is political, there are non-government organizations certifying products as GMO-free without any legislative intervention. Yet, not many major food corporations or grocery stores are caving to pressure to go without.
Whole Foods is leading the pack by choice with its recent announcement to no longer host Chobani’s products, while also requiring all foods in its stores to label its GMO status. It will also focus on hosting smaller food labels that don’t have GMOs in their foods. And in what may have come as a surprise to many, General Mills is making the original Cheerios GMO-free.
It is just one box of Cheerios, so it doesn’t sound like General Mills is caving to the anti-GMO crowd. In fact, they only changed one small ingredient in the cereal to GMO-free as its claims most of the cereal wasn’t full of GMOs anyway. And there is no mention about changing its other products. The company also recognizes GMOs as safe. Doesn’t sound like a change of heart to me, maybe just testing the marketing waters.
In a recent Fool article, Maxx Chatsko makes an interesting argument about how Whole Foods new strategy is good for the store, but bad for science. Whole Foods is capitalizing on an audience who hates GMOs, regardless of the science behind it. But so what? At least when it comes down to personal decisions, people should be able to make their own food choices based on what they value — even if it flies in the face of science, like say thinking evolution is a lie or being gay is a choice and is unnatural. Of course, my tolerance stops when such people want the government to intervene on their behalf to force their beliefs and choices on other people.
Both Whole Foods and General Mills may be after the money, but no one should be surprised. Things are starting to get very interesting in the marketplace (without the help of the government). I’m going to sit back and eat some popcorn, while watching the rest of the year unfold to see what other surprises pop up.