As consumers, how do we choose food products with regard to genetically engineered ingredients (also known as GMOs, G.E. or Genetically Modified Organisms).
Clear GMO labeling of products enable shoppers to avoid foods made with GMOs to do so. Accordingly, there is a growing array of choices in many grocery stores that support organic agriculture (which prohibits the use of GMOs), and which encourages other food producers to offer non-GMO options.
Today, many grocery stores work with manufacturers to source non-GMO ingredients, and some even offer a list of verified products. The Non-GMO Project is a collaboration of manufacturers, retailers, processors, distributors, farmers, seed breeders and consumers who have developed North America’s first independent third-party Non-GMO Product Verification Program. This program ensures that food production follows rigorous best practices for GMO foods avoidance, and the seal allows consumers to make informed food buying choices. Buying organic products is a reliable way for consumers to choose non-GMO foods. Accordingly, manufacturers and producers are encouraged to label organic products as not grown from genetically engineered seed, and to create products without GMO ingredients or processes which are verified and labeled as such.
Most supermarkets now have their own store brand products, though it can be difficult to discern what brands are a supermarket’s private label brands, let alone which ones may use genetically modified food. Additionally, many supermarkets now have private label organic brands to choose from, and a few notable chains have removed GMO ingredients from some or all of their non-organic private label products. For instance, Whole Foods Market with its 365 brands, as well as all of Trader Joe’s store brand products are non-GMO.
Store-brand products are often a great way to purchase non-GMO and USDA Certified Organic products in the supermarket as they are often much less expensive than the national brands. Dairy is often sourced regionally for supermarket chains, so not all brands listed as rBGH-free may have rBGH-free milk and dairy in all locations–be sure to check the labels. (rBGH is a recombinant DNA version of naturally-occurring bovine growth hormone which when injected into cows increases milk production up to 40 percent.) So, how does one know their supermarket’s stand and policy on rBGH and GM ingredients?
Below is a list of some of the largest supermarkets in the U.S., their store brand products, and company statements on rBGH and GM ingredients. Supermarkets will carry either (1) only organic or non-GMO store brand products, (2) some organic and non-GMO options, or (3) no known organic or non-GMO store brands. You may have to contact these companies to find out about their use of rBGH / rBST and GM ingredients in their store brands.
Non-GMO and RBGH-Free Store Brands
Trader Joe’s: All Trader Joe’s store brands are non-GMO and their milks, butter, ice cream and most cheeses are rBGH-free. Trader Joe’s has a statement on GM ingredients on its website: http://www.traderjoes.com/about/customer-updates.asp#4
Whole Foods: Store brands include Whole Foods Market and 365 Brand. Both brands are non-GMO. Most, but not all, dairy products are rBGH-free and there are many organic options. Whole foods has a statement on GM ingredients on its website: http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/values/genetically-engineered.php
Some rBGH-Free and Non-GMO Store Brands Available
A&P Supermarkets: (including A&P supermarkets, Waldbaums, Super Fresh, The Food Emporium, Food Basics, and Pathmark. Store brands include: America’s Choice, America’s Choice Healthy Kids, AC Gold, Via Roma, Hartford Reserve, Green Way organics, Green Way (“natural”), Smart Price, Via Roma and Live Better Wellness. A&P has no statement on rBGH or GM ingredients on its website.
AholdUSA: Ahold supermarkets include Stop & Shop, Giant, Martin’s and Peapod. Store brands include Simply Enjoy, Guaranteed Value, Nature’s Promise Organic and Nature’s Promise Natural brands. Ahold has a short statement on GM ingredients on its website and no policy listed for use of rBGH or GM ingredients in its store brands.
Bashas’: Supermarkets include Bashas’, AJ’s Fine Foods, and Food City. Store brands include Bashas’, Food Club, Value Time and Full Circle Organic (Organic only) and Natural brands. Bashas’ has no statement on use of rBGH or GM ingredients on its website.
Bi-Lo: Supermarkets include Bi-Lo and Super Bi-Lo. Store brand include Southern Home, Clear Value, and Full Circle Organic (organic only) and Natural brands. Bi-Lo has no statement on use of rBGH or GM ingredients on its website.
Costco: Kirkland Signature brand, Kirkland Signature Organics. Kirkland milk is rBGH-free. Costco has no statement on rBGH or GM ingredients on its website.
Delhaize America: Supermarkets include Food Lion, Bloom, Bottom Dollar, Harveys, Hannaford Bros., Kash n’ Karry, and Sweetbay. Store brands include Hannaford brand, Harvey’s brand, Food Lion brand, Sweetbay brand, On the Go Bistro, Nature’s Place Organics, Nature’s Place Naturals, Smart Option, and Taste of Inspirations. Delhaize states on its website that in response to customer’s desires, “Delhaize is developing a non-GM supply network for its private label products.” It remains unclear if this policy is true in its US stores.
Giant Eagle: Supermarkets include Giant Eagle, GetGo, Giant Eagle Express, and Market District. Store brands include Giant Eagle (including some Giant Eagle Organics) and Market District. Giant Eagle has no statement on rBGH or GM ingredients on its website.
Harris Teeter: Store brands include: Hunter Farms (dairy, all rBGH-free), Harris Teeter, HT Traders, Harris Teeter Naturals, Harris Teeter Naturals Organic (Organic only), Harris Teeter Your Tot, and Harris Teeter Your Baby. Harris Teeter has no statement on its use of GM ingredients on its website.
H-E-B (H.E. Butt Grocery Co.): Supermarkets and brands include H-E-B, Central Market, and Central Market Organics. H-E-B has no statement on GM ingredients on its websites, but all Central Market Organics brands and many Central Market brands are non-GMO; milk is rBGH-free.
Hy-Vee Food Stores: Store brands include Di Lusso deli brands, World Classics Trading Company, Hy-Vee, Hy-Vee Mother’s Choice, Midwest Country Fare, Full Circle Organics (organic only) and Naturals, O Organics brand, and Eating Right. Hy-Vee has no statement on rBGH or GM ingredient use on its website.
Kroger: Kroger-owner supermarkets include Fred Meyer, Kroger, Ralph’s, King Sooper’s, Dillon’s, Smith’s, QFC, Baker’s, Ownes, JayC, Hilander, Gerbes, Pay Less Supermarkets, Scott’s Food and Pharmacy, Kroger Fresh Fare, Food 4 Less, and Foods Co. Store brands include Private Selection, Private Selection Organics, banner brands (such as Kroger’s, Ralph’s King Sooper’s, etc) Naturally Preferred, and Value. Fred Meyer and Mountain Dairy milks are rBGH-free. Kroger has no statement on GMO ingredients or rBGH on its website.
Meijer: Store brands include: Meijer, Meijer Gold, Maijer Naturals and Meijer Organics. Meijer has no statement on rBGH or GM ingredients on its website.
Nash Finch Co: While Nash Finch is primarily a distributor, they also operate supermarkets including Avanza Supermarkets, Econofoods, Family Fresh Market, Family Thrift Centers, Pick n’ Save, Prarie Market and Sun Mart Food Stores. Store brands include Nash Brothers Trading Company organic brand, Nash Brothers Trading Company “natural” brand, Our Family (including some Organics) and Value Choice. Nash Finch has no statement on rBGH or GM ingredient use on its website.
Price Chopper Supermarkets: Store brands include Price Chopper, Price Chopper Naturals, Price Chopper Organics, and Central Market Classics. All Price Chopper milk is rBGH-free. Price Chopper has no statement on its use of GM ingredients on its website.
Publix Super Markets: Publix store brands include Publix brand, Greenwise Market Organics and Greenwise Market Natural. All Publix milk is rBGH-free. Publix has statements on both rBGH and GM ingredients on its website.
Raley’s Supermarkets: Supermarkets include Raley’s, Nob Hill, Bel Air, and Food Source. Store brands include Raley’s, Raley’s Organic, Nob Hill, and Nob Hill Organic. Raley’s has no statement on its use of rBGH or GM ingredients on its website.
Safeway: Mom to Mom, Safeway brand, Safeway SELECT, O Organics brand, Eating Right, Lucerne, Rancher’s Reserve, Primo Taglio, Basic Red, Signature Café, Waterfront Bistro. Safeway’s Dairy Glen and Lucerne milks are rBGH-Free (may not be rBGH-free in all locations, check the labels). Safeway has information about GM foods on its website, but no company statement on Safeway’s use of rBGH or GM ingredients.
Schnuck Markets: Store brands include Full Circle Organic (Organic only) and Natural brands. Schnuck has no statement on use of rBGH or GM ingredients on its website.
Spartan Stores: Supermarkets include D&W Fresh Markets, Family Fare Supermarkets, Felpausch Food Centers , Glen’s Markets, and VG’s Food and Pharmacy. Store brands include Spartan, Aroma Street, Value Time, and Full Circle Organic (organic only) and Natural brands. Spartan has no statement on use of rBGH or GM ingredients on its website.
Supervalu: Supervalu stores include ACME, Albertsons, Biggs, Bristol Farms, Cub Foods, Farm Fresh, Hornbacher’s, Jewel-Osco, Lucky, Save-A-Lot, Shaw’s, Shop ‘n Save, and Shoppers. Store brands include: Arctic Shores, Carlita, Culinary Circle, Farm Fresh, Farm Stand, Flavorite, Java Delight, Max Velocity, Richfood, Shoppers Value, Stockman & Dakota, Stone Ridge Creamery, SuperChill, SuperCrunch, Wild Harvest Natural and Organic – Organic only). Supervalu has no statement on rBGH or GM ingredients on is website.
Target, Super Target: Target store brands include Archer Farms, Archer Farms organic, Archer Farms Simply Balanced, and Market Pantry. Market Pantry milks are rBGH-free (may not be rBGH-free in all locations, check the labels). Target has no statement on GMO ingredients on its website.
Wal-Mart Stores: Wal-Mart’s (Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club, Supercenters, Neighborhood Market) Store brands include Great Value and Marketside. Great Value store brand milk is rBGH-free and Wal-Mart continues to expand its organic offerings as well. Wal-Mart has no company statement on GM ingredients on its website.
Wegmans Food Markets: Store brands include Wegman’s, Wegman’s Food You Feel Good About, and Wegman’s Organics. Wegman’s has no statement on rBGH or GM ingredients on its website.
Weis Markets: Store brands include Weis, Value Time, and Full Circle Organic (Organic only) and Natural brands. Weis has no statement on use of rBGH or GM ingredients on its website.
Winn-Dixie Stores: Supermarkets include Winn-Dixie, Winn-Dixie Marketplace and SaveRite. Store brands include Winn-Dixie, Winn-Dixie Organics & Naturals (organic only), Thrifty Maid, and Winn & Lovett. Winn-Dixie has no statement on rBGH or GM ingredients on its website.
No Known rBGH-Free or Non-GMO Store Brands
Aldi: Store brands include Aldi, Fit & Active, L’Oven Fresh, Grandessa Signature, Appleton, Kirkwood, and Friendly Farms (dairy) among others (Aldi sells almost entirely private label products). Aldi has no US phone or email listed, and no statement on rBGH or GM ingredients on its website.
Ingles Markets: Store brands include Laura Lynn. Ingles has no statement on its use of rBGH or GM ingredients on its website.
Roundy’s Supermarkets: Supermarkets include Roundy’s, Pick N’ Save, Copps, Rainbow Foods, Mariano’s Fresh Market, and Metro Market. Store brands include Roundy’s. Roundy’s has no statement on the use of rBGH or GM ingredients on its website.
Save Mart Supermarkets: Supermarkets include Save Mart, S-Mart Foods, Lucky, and FoodMaxx. Store brands include Sunnyside Farms Dairy, Sunny Select, and Today’s Health. SaveMart has no statement on rBGH or GM ingredients on its website.
Smart & Final: Supermarkets include Smart & Final, Cash & Carry, Harvey’s Farmers Market, Sun Harvest Farmers Market. Store brands include Chef’s Review 3 Star, 4 Star and 5 Star food items, Ambiance coffee, Signature Bakeries baked goods, First Street, Tradewind spices, Montecito, and La Romanella. Smart & Final has no statement on use of rBGH or GM ingredients on its website.
Stay informed; stay healthy!
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