Seward Co-op stands with the 92 percent of Americans who believe consumers have the right to know if their food has been genetically engineered. As part of our commitment to this belief, we support local and national organizations that educate consumers and advocate for mandatory labeling laws — organizations such as Just Label It, the Truth in Labeling Coalition, the Non-GMO Project, and Right to Know Minnesota. Seward Co-op also is a member of the National Cooperative Grocers Association (NCGA), a trade organization comprised of 134 retail co-ops. NCGA works with several organizations to fight the deregulation of GMOs at the regulatory and legal levels. We believe that GMO labeling will be a reality in the coming years.
Until that time, we are taking steps to ensure that we offer non-GMO alternatives. We prioritize certified-organic and Non-GMO Project-verified products. Whenever possible, we will provide shoppers with at least one certified-organic product choice in each food category where there is a likelihood of GMO content. Since organic certification does not allow for the use of genetically modified seeds, certified-organic products are the least likely to contain genetically modified ingredients.
The only instance in which we will carry new items that are likely to contain GMOs (those containing corn, soy, non-cane sugar, canola, cottonseed oil, papaya, or summer squash) is when the items meet a customer need that cannot be fulfilled by non-GMO alternatives. We strongly encourage our vendors to source Non-GMO ingredients, and we require that any products labeled as Non-GMO are verified (or in the process of verification) by the Non-GMO Project. In addition, we provide education on the topic to help shoppers make informed choices. We routinely provide resources on Non-GMO labeling on our website, through classes, and in articles in our member newsletter, the “Sprout!” We encourage member involvement in this issue through social media updates and Non-GMO events throughout the year.