Last week marked a big achievement in favor of common sense and science!
According to Food Navigator, Green Century Equity Fund put a measure before the shareholders of Safeway which would make GMO labeling mandatory for any products sold at the store. GCEF threatened that if Safeway refused to support mandatory labeling, it would lose its market share for the “all natural” and “GMO-free” customers.
But the Safeway Board of Directors urged shareholders to reject the proposal, citing that it would cost well over $15 million to identify products that may contain biotechnology and enforce the labeling requirement. Furthermore, Safeway argued it would be confusing and unhelpful to consumers because it does nothing to educate consumers about those options.
In the end, only about 10% of Safeway shareholders voted in favor of the proposal – meaning it was overwhelmingly and soundly defeated.
Instead, the company explained that if customers want GMO-free products, they can choose the products that voluntarily include a “GMO-free” label or any of the organic products from Safeway, which are required to be free of any biotechnology.
In October of 2013, the company released an official statement on GMOs (found here) stating:
While Safeway supports the voluntary labeling of products making non-GMO or GMO-free claims, we are also committed to continuing to provide our customers with choices across our many categories and brands.
You can read more at The National Center for Public Policy Research, which also rejects the idea of labeling GMOs and has advocated to companies, including the Safeway shareholders, to defeat these types of measures. NCPPR claims labeling would only increase fear among consumers.