TRADER JOE'S PRESS RELEASE
MONROVIA, CA NOVEMBER 13, 2001. Over the last several months, we at Trader Joe's have been talking with our customers, reviewing food production methods with our vendors and studying the issues related to genetically engineered foods. While there is a great deal of passion regarding this matter among customers and the public at large, it is clear to us that if given the opportunity, the majority of our customers would prefer to have products made without genetically engineered ingredients.
Accordingly, we announce today a change in our approach to products in our Trader Joe's label (private label products). Effective immediately, we will work with any new vendor to produce private label products for Trader Joe's without genetically engineered ingredients. Our goal for existing private label products is to have all such products reformulated, if necessary, and certified within one year.
We will develop a program of random testing to verify the certifications and on-going compliance of our vendors. However, there is no system in the United States to completely guard against "adventitious contamination" from the genetic drift by genetically engineered crop to non-genetically engineered crops. Therefore, it is not possible for any supplier or retailer to realistically offer any guarantee that their products are "GMO-free."
Currently, there are no recognized U.S. government standards regarding the labeling of genetically engineered foods. We encourage our customers to write to their congressional representatives, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to let them know how you feel about genetic engineering of the food supply and the lack of labeling standards for such products. Only by developing a national standard related to this issue can food retailers and suppliers provide customers with products and information so they can make informed choices when purchasing food for themselves and their families.