Certified GMO Free
All of Aloha Bay's products are certified GMO free. UNFI is one of Aloha Bay's five distributors.
September 9, 2009
Dear Valued Supplier,
We are writing to express our concern about the threat that GMO contamination poses to the natural and organic products industry, and to ask you to join the growing effort to address this concern by enrolling your products in the Non-GMO Project's Product Verification Program.
GMOs (genetically modified organisms) are organisms that have been created through the gene-splicing techniques of biotechnology (also called genetic engineering, or GE). This relatively new science allows DNA from one species to be injected into another species in a laboratory, creating combinations of plant, animal, bacteria, and viral genes that do not occur in nature or through traditional crossbreeding methods. The majority of GMOs on the market (75%) are bred for herbicide resistance (e.g. "Roundup Ready"), and most of the rest are bred to produce Bt toxin in every cell of the plant. Contrary to PR hype from the biotech lobby, there are no GMO traits on the market that offer increased yield, drought tolerance, superior nutrition, or anything else of benefit to consumers.
There are serious doubts as to the safety of GMOs, and they have been linked to infertility, accelerated aging, dysfunctional insulin regulation, changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system, and immune problems such as asthma, allergies, and inflammation.1 As a result of these health issues, as well as concern about environmental impact, 36 countries around the world have significant restrictions or outright bans on GMO production. In the EU, for example, products with more than 0.9% contamination have to be labeled as containing GMOs. In the U.S. and Canada, on the other hand, GMOs are currently in an estimated 75% of processed food in the average grocery store,2 and the governments have not supported mandatory labeling.
Consumers buy natural and organic products because they are safer and healthier, both for people and for the planet. Given all the risks associated with GMOs, consumers expect natural and organic products to be free of GMOs. In order to maintain consumer trust in our industry and remain true to the mission on which we were founded, it is essential that natural and organic products be produced according to best practices for GMO avoidance, including testing of risk ingredients.
The Non-GMO Project is a non-profit organization created by industry leaders to address the GMO issue with rigor and practicality. After years of work, the Project has now established: 1) A consensus-based standard for GMO avoidance, 2) A third party Product Verification Program, and 3) A Non-GMO Project Verified Seal for display on the labels of verified products. This seal will begin appearing on products this Fall.
In other words, the mechanism is now in place to support our industry in remaining a trusted source for safe, healthy non-GMO food and products. Industry leaders such as Eden Foods, Lundberg Family Farms, Nature's Path Organic Foods, UNFI and WholeSoy are among the companies who have already enrolled over 800 products in the Product Verification Program (for a complete list, see http://www.nongmoproject.org/consumers/search-enrolled-products/). Most recently, Whole Foods Market announced plans to enroll its private label products, underscoring the importance of GMO avoidance for the natural products industry. A recent Whole Foods survey showed that 80% of shoppers would seek out verified non-GMO products and be willing to pay more for them.
It's important to UNFI that the products we sell are non-GMO. The best guarantee of this to us is for you to enroll in the Non-GMO Project. To support development of a critical mass of industry participation, the Project is offering a 25% discount on enrollment until September 15, 2009. We have made great progress on addressing this issue before it's too late, but we need everyone's involvement to succeed.
You can start the enrollment process by filling out the Enrollment Inquiry form on the Project's website, (www.nongmoproject.org), or by calling the Project directly at 1.888.688.7262. Also, please feel free to get in touch with us if you would like to discuss this further.
We look forward to confirmation that you have joined the effort to protect our industry and the future of our food supply by enrolling in the Non-GMO Project.
Michael S. Funk
Chairman, UNFI Board of Directors
Vice President of Supply Chain
1 According to the American Academy of Environmental Medicine:
2 According to The Grocery Manufacturers of America