If you haven’t heard of GMOs yet, I’m really surprised. Genetically Modified Organisms are, according to the Non-GMO Project, “are plants or animals that have been genetically engineered with DNA from bacteria, viruses or other plants and animals. These experimental combinations of genes from different species cannot occur in nature or in traditional crossbreeding.” The fight to get them out of our food is a near on-going battle, but one Florida store is doing all it can to improve the quality of products on the shelves.
Nature’s Food Patch in Clearwater proudly carries Kelapo and is making headlines with one of the first ever in-store GMO Researchers. We talked with Patience Melton about her passion for her job and why she believes her role is important to her consumers.
1. When did you become passionate about non-GMO foods?
My passion for transparency in the GMO world grew the moment I discovered what [they] were. Being what I thought was an informed consumer, and not previously knowing what GMOs where, was heartbreaking when I did find out. Today so many people are unaware of controversy at the base of their food supply.
2. Tell us about how the GMO researcher position got started.
Non-GMO efforts have always been relevant in our store. In the beginning, our Store Director helped lead the movement to ban GMOs. With little to no success, she continued the fight with educating customers at Nature’s Food Patch. In 2003, Nature’s Food Patch was one of the first to host Jeffrey Smith, a leading icon in the anti-GMO world. We have held screenings of films such as Genetic Roulette and Hungry for Change. When labeling bills were continuously shot down, she realized it was time to take an independent stance. As we already had Non-GMO Project Verified products on our shelves, the next step was to label all products that contained GMOs.
3. How important is it for companies, like Kelapo, to ensure their products are non-GMO?
For companies that are looking to support labeling initiatives and gain consumers backing, Non-GMO Verification is a must. With GMOs becoming a known issue, we can see an increase in not only the sales of Non-GMO products, but consumer satisfaction of said products. The transparency behind a verified product makes voting with your dollar just that much easier.