Trader Joe’s Disallows GMOs in Private Label Products

Trader Joe's doesn't label their private label products as Non-GMO, but they are.

Editor’s Note: A fellow Right to Know CT member contacted Trader Joe’s corporate headquarters and secured this email stating their stance on GMOs in their private label products and protocol for ensuring the veracity of their non-GMO claims.

Dear Ms. Smith(name changed to protect the sender),

Thank you for your email. Trader Joe’s does not allow the use of genetically modified ingredients for any of Trader Joe’s private label products. We ensure this standard for our brand through non-GMO certification. You can review our statement by clicking on the link

When developing products containing ingredients likely to come from genetically modified sources, we have the supplier of the product in question perform the necessary research to provide documentation that the suspect ingredients are from non-GMO sources. This documentation is in the form of affidavits, identity preserved certification of seed stock, and third-party lab results from testing of the ingredients in question.

In addition to this work done in developing a given item, we perform random audits of items with suspect ingredients, using an outside, third-party lab to perform the testing. Given our position on GMO ingredients in our Trader Joe’s label products and the work done in support of that position, it is our expectation that our products test as non-GMO.

We have yet to take the approach of labeling products as non-GMO because there are no clear guidelines from the US governmental agencies covering food and beverage labeling. Instead of waiting for such guidelines to be put into effect, we took a more holistic approach and made the no GMO ingredients position part of what the Trader Joe’s label encompasses.


Ms. Jones (name changed)
Customer Relations

4 thoughts on “Trader Joe’s Disallows GMOs in Private Label Products”

  1. Well then Trader Joe’s should stop offering/selling the few other brands such as Morning Star & Tofutti that do produce GMO-originated products. Period. If your non-conventional approach is to make it clear that part of the TJ’s trademark is the absence of GMO, for purposes of clarity for the consumer who don’t have hours and hours to research such labels, TJ’s should eliminate any and all questions altogether…ie those brands that are not non-GMO.

  2. Its not up to Trader Joes to police all the companies they buy from. Its up to the consumer to contact those companies who sell GMO food and demand they are labeled. Yes on Prop 37 is all about labeling GMO food. When this passes in Novemebr that problem will be solved. By the way ALL supermarkets have products that contain GMOs, they just aren’t labeled.

    • Scott, if part of Trader Joe’s value proposition is that it’s private label products are GMO-free, then it is their obligation to ensure the validity of that claim. If Prop 37 passes in CA, it will take years for foods to be properly labeled and there are many exemptions: milk, dairy, whole meat products, etc. And there are organic products that can contain a small percentage of GM ingredients and I’m wondering how the law would treat those. Hard to imagine a Certified Organic product with a “may contain Genetically Engineered ingredients” label on it. I expect a biotech industry law suit if Prop 37 passes and that would slow things down. So, the reality is that we really do need as much transparency as possible right now.

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