At Publix, we work hard every day to provide our customers safe, high quality products. We want our customers to have confidence in the products we sell and to have access to foods that fit their preferences. We understand that many of our customers are interested in knowing more about genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and how the food they eat is affected by GMOs. We agree there is a need to educate the public about genetic modification and believe consumers should have access to consistent, accurate, and relevant information about the products they buy. Publix, much like American consumers, is asking for some answers and guidelines from the governmental agencies that oversee our food system. We believe the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) should define what constitutes genetically modified food and should also establish criteria for "GMO Free" and "non-GMO" labeling, which would help address confusion. Publix relies on these regulatory agencies to set the product and labeling standards with which we comply.
There are certain things we know about GMOs: we have been consuming these agricultural products for decades; many studies and evaluations by health and regulatory agencies, including the American Medical Association, have found GMOs to be safe; and GMOs can reduce pesticides and water use on farms, which benefits our environment and could reduce product costs for customers.
We understand that some customers may want to avoid GMOs and for these customers, we recommend our growing selection of certified organic products, which are generally non-GMO. Other than USDA-certified organic standard, there is currently no national standard for labeling foods that do not contain GMOs. Until there is one, we encourage customers who seek non-GMO products to look for foods bearing the USDA-certified organic seal. Products that are labeled as such must contain at least 95% certified organic ingredients. Up to 5% of the ingredients (including salt and water) can be non-organic.
We support the position of the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), one of the largest food industry associations, which can be found on their website at www.FMI.org. We will continue to gather data based on government and industry information. As new information is discovered, we will share what we learn about GMOs and want to hear your thoughts and questions. As with all things, the final decision regarding which products to choose is always yours.