Grocery chain Whole Foods Market yesterday became the first retailer in the US to introduce labelling of all genetically modified foods sold in its stores, which, according to experts could radically alter the food industry.
According to AC Gallo, president of Whole Foods, the new labelling requirement, would be in place within five years, and had been introduced in response to consumer demand.
He said, it had been seen how customers had responded to the products that had been labeled. He added, a number of manufacturers had reported a 15 per cent increase in sales of products they had labeled.
Genetically modified (GM) ingredients were deeply embedded in the global food supply, with their proliferation since the 1990s. Most of the corn and soybeans grown in the US, for example, had been genetically modified.
The alterations induce resistance to a herbicide used in weed control, in soy bean and causes the corn to produce its own insecticide. Efforts are under way to produce a genetically altered apple that would spoil less quickly, as also a genetically altered salmon that would grow faster.
The announcement has been hailed in industry circles and excited proponents of labeling. Mark Kastel, co-director of the Cornucopia Institute, an organic advocacy group that favors labeling said it was fantastic.