The Trader Joe’s company has risen to All-Star status thanks in large part thanks to its unique selection of food and beverage options, as well as its attention to non-GMO and organic products.
But in today’s day and age, with genetically engineered food ingredients still not labeled throughout most of the time in the United States, it’s hard to know what you may or not be getting unless you’re buying organic all the time.
Even high-end specialty stores with “healthier” food options like often serve food items containing GMOs, including foods made with corn, canola, soy lecitihin and other surprising ingredients.
But just in case Trader Joe’s fans were wondering, the company has made an official statement on the use of GMOs in its products, and it’s good news for anyone wishing to avoid them — if you take them at their word, that is.
The Trader Joe’s Label and GMO Ingredients
According to the Trader Joe’s website, the company’s products are in fact “sourced from Non-GMO ingredients,” as part of a process of going non-GMO that began in 2001.
“In 2001, when we determined that, given a choice, our customers would prefer to eat foods and beverages made without the use of genetically engineered ingredients,” an FAQ on the company’s website states. “When developing products containing ingredients likely to come from genetically modified sources, we have the supplier of the product perform the necessary research to provide documentation that the suspect ingredients are from non-GMO sources.”
The process sounds similar to the Non-Project’s verification process, however Trader Joe’s generally does not feature many products with this symbol on the package in its stores.
According to Trader Joe’s the company documents each company’s ingredients as non-GMO in the form of affidavits, identity-preserved certification of seed stock, and third-party lab results from testing each individual ingredient in question.
Random audits are also conducted using a third-party lab as well. There’s one more catch regarding GMO products at Trader Joe’s however, that you should know about before shopping there.
Non-GMO Feed in Trader Joe’s Meat and Dairy?
Much like with the policy of Chipotle Mexican Grill, Trader Joe’s is unable to verify that the feed in its meat, dairy, and some farmed fish products were not fed GMOs, because of the prevalence of GMO corn, soy and other commodity crops in animal feed.
There is, however, the option of buying organic meat and dairy at Trader Joe’s, which is by definition non-GMO. Wild caught fish is also available.
A Word of Caution on Trader Joe’s And Its Non-GMO Products
While Trader Joe’s stated commitment to non-GMO ingredients is admirable, a recent investigation by Vani Hari, aka the Food Babe, raised more than a few red flags.
When asked to provide a single affadavit for one corn or soy product proving it to be verified non-GMO, the company refused to do so, saying, “Unfortunately we don’t share those documents, they are confidential.”
The company also doesn’t offer country-of-origin labeling on its products and refused to tell Hari what countries some of them were from.
And while Trader Joe’s non-GMO stance is admirable for its own product line (it also carries some third party products that could be contaminated with GMOs), they also include things like artificial colors and flavorings in their products that you should avoid whenever possible.
In concluding her investigation, Hari recommends a list of three specific types of products you should buy at Trader Joe’s if you want to make sure you’re getting quality non-GMO and natural ingredients.
For more information, check out her full investigation by clicking on this link.
Nick Meyer is the founder of AltHealthWorks.com and author of the Amazon Kindle Best Seller ‘Dirt Cheap Organic,’ as well as its sequel ‘Dirt Cheap Weight Loss.’ Check them out on Amazon.com by clicking here. This article as first written in November 2017 and updated in February 2019.