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Trader Joe’s Trading Your Health for Genetically Modified Food They Sell

trader joe's gmo

To be aware of just how Trader Joe’s is covertly selling you genetically modified food, is an intermingling of producers, food growers, food suppliers, and big corporate agrichemical giants who try to pass themselves off as ‘food companies’, though they’re nothing of the sort — the issue is, they are passing their coveted genetically modified (GM) foods off to unsuspecting consumers who frequent this, what appears to be, wholesome company.

If you dig a little deeper, and we did, you’ll find that lurking in the wholesome food you bought at Trader Joe’s is anything but wholesome.

Trader Joe’s tells us on their website about their GMO (genetically modified organism) policy is that “Trader Joe’s Products are sourced from Non-GMO ingredients.” They then go on to explain how “…we have the supplier of the product 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.”

Unfortunately, if a consumer were to ask for Trader Joe’s to provide documentation to verify the test result, the fact that they use the term identity-preserved certification means that they are keeping that information a secret and not disclosing who supplies, grows, harvests or tests the food you buy and eat.

The fact that they won’t reveal who their suppliers or growers are and are unwilling to provide test results means that you have no idea what kind of seeds were used (genetically modified or not), how your food was grown (organic, sustainably or not), or the chemicals that were used to grow them and, you are not given any factual data to support their claims of not using GMOs.

This begs the question: What is Trader Joe’s trying to hide?

In a day in age where data and transparency are essential, there is absolutely no way to confirm what they’re telling you is, in fact, true because there is no way to prove their statements.

Why doesn’t Trader Joe’s label its products as “Non-GMO”?

From their website:

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, and based upon customer feedback, we took a more holistic approach and made the no GMO ingredients position part of what the Trader Joe’s label encompasses.

In essence what they’re saying is, they’re passing the buck to the US government, and then making it appear as if they’re taking the lead to put GMO guidelines into place, and their “holistic” (people use that word when they don’t have the proper word that describes it; that word would be “secret”) approach. Their non-GMO position says nothing about revealing proof to their consumers, or anyone who inquires, in the form of documentation of non-GMO testing results.

It’s unfortunate that we as consumers believe that these companies have our best interests at heart, but later we discover companies we trusted like Naked Juice, Tostitos, Kashi, Gold Fish, Barbara’s Bakery, and many others who are or have been, faced with lawsuits because their so-called “natural” or non-GMO products were suspected and later found containing GMOs.

How to Know if You’re Eating GMOs

If you were to peruse the aisles at TJ’s, you’d find an assortment of products that are  USDA certified organic. However, don’t let that fool you into believing that other foods are the same. In fact, the majority of TJ’s food, which by the way are not grown by them using their own farmers, but rather are grown and harvested by third-party food suppliers.

Canola, soy, papaya, corn are the top four genetically modified foods in the US, and they are being used by Trader Joe’s. If any of the packages they sell don’t have a label that states that it’s USDA certified organic, you can be assured that if one or more of those ingredients are in the product you might consider buying, they are GM.

Putting Your Health Over Their Profits

What’s also alarming is that there is no regular independent third-party certifier verifying their products are non-GMO on a regular basis at Trader Joe’s. It is completely up to Trader Joe’s product supply team to regulate GMOs from suppliers – not the Non-GMO Project or the USDA (for organics) that requires a high level of standards and third-party testing before stating that a product can be deemed free of GMOs.

If there are complaints about a product, Trader Joe’s will conduct verification with a secret third party that they won’t disclose, but it’s completely up to the consumer to alert Trader Joe’s with a complaint. In fact, Trader Joe’s stated that their products “don’t allow for auditing using the Non-GMO Project because there is an additional cost associated with that.”

A representative from Trader Joe’s went on to say:

We tend to not label our products a whole lot, and won’t until there is a government regulation to understand what non-GMO even means, we aren’t going to label products that don’t have specific FDA guidelines.

This begs the question – what does non-GMO mean to Trader Joe’s and, are they making up their own definition because they claim they don’t have direction from a governmental official?

Because of this stance about GM food that Trader Joe’s knowingly sells to unsuspecting customers, they’re totally passing the buck onto the U.S. government and not taking any accountability or responsibility for the products that they sell which could potentially be putting people that eat their GM food at risk for serious health issues.

If you like to know how pervasive and sinister the companies are who created GMOs, the misinformation they use to trick consumers, and how the chemicals used to grow them adversely affect our health, watch this short video below.

The shocking and detrimental results that GM food passes along when eaten should be enough for anyone to bypass eating these dangerous ingredients and toxic chemicals used to grow them that are found in the foods likely to contain GMOs.

Is There GMO Labeling in the US?

Unlike over 60 other countries that label GMOs, the U.S. government does not have a GMO labeling law for consumers so they can protect their health from genetically modified ingredients.

Trader Joe’s statement on their website that third-party lab results test the ingredients in question, however, they don’t provide any verifying document for consumers so they can read that claim to see if there are or are not any GMO ingredients in the products that they buy and eat from Trader Joe’s.

They also stated it’s their expectation that their products tests as non-GMO but they do not make the same claim for Branded products other than Trader Joe’s label, so in essence, any food you buy at Trader Joe’s that is likely to be GM, you can bet they are.

You would think that a company that makes $13 billion dollars a year like TJ’s does, would be able to at the very least, provide a simple verification label of non-GMO on their products for their customers because of the potential risk that they may incur should GMOs be consumed.

The cost would be negligible to insert text on their products that say, “Does not contain genetically modified ingredients.”, but rather they would like to keep you and other consumers in the dark about their products that are or derived from genetically modified ingredients.

A company that keeps this kind of critically important information secret and hides it from its customers speaks volumes of their ethics and lack of concern for the well-being of the people that have kept them in business for over 50 years.

This shows just how reckless, irresponsible and unconcerned they are about your health and the health of your family.

Scientific Evidence of The Harm GMOs Pose

There was a long-term scientific study on GMOs that was undertaken by researcher and scientist Gilles-Éric Séralini, the same study that Monsanto performed, but instead of only 90-days with Monsanto’s study, this newer study was a 12-months, which revealed horrific results in rats.

That study was later redacted from the peer-reviewed journal a few years later. New documents recently surfaced showing that Monsanto was involved in the retraction of that study.

Just recently, however, the Seralini study was republished in a peer-review study which is titled, Republished study: long-term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize“, which can be found by clicking here.

What Can You Do to Avoid GMOs?

Considering Trader Joe’s total lack of transparency or care for their customers, there’s only a limited list of products that can be trusted from Trader Joe’s to not contain GM ingredients.

First, be sure that the food item has the USDA certified label on it that looks like this below.

From the USDA’s website, to confuse the organic issue further, they state:

When packaged products indicate they are “made with organic [specific ingredient or food group],” this means they contain at least 70% organically produced ingredients. The remaining non-organic ingredients are produced without using prohibited practices (genetic engineering, for example) but can include substances that would not otherwise be allowed in 100% organic products. “Made with organic” products will not bear the USDA organic seal, but, as with all other organic products, must still identify the USDA-accredited certifier. You can look for the identity of the certifier on a packaged product for verification that the organic product meets USDA’s organic standards.

Any other “organic” label cannot be used, so be sure to spot the difference.

This is a partial list of what we recommend buying and what not buy:


    • Certified organic fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds
    • Certified organic branded Trader Joe’s products (USDA certified), for example, their organic popcorn made with olive oil is a good choice
    • Certified organic milk products
    • Certified organic coffee and teas (like Yogi tea)
    • Certified organic frozen foods like frozen berries
    • Some conventional items on occasion (like kimchi) that do not have high-risk GMO crop ingredients like corn, soy, cottonseed, papaya, sugar, canola, zucchini/squash
    • Paper products – they use environmentally friendly practices and recycled paper


    • Charles Shaw Wine, otherwise known as “2 buck chuck” – It’s so poor in quality, some experts call this stuff “grape-flavored soda” and compare it to what “Ronald McDonald is to the cheeseburger.” This wine is not made in a winery rather, “this wine is made in a factory, with a lot of synthetic and concentrated products, like grape musk, added to manipulate the flavors from bad grapes.” (Stick to organic wine with no detected or added sulfites)
    • Non-Trader Joe’s brands that likely contain GMO ingredients like Simply Lite, Reddi Egg, Dare, Orangina, The Laughing Cow, Morningstar, Tofutti, Think Thin Bars, Toblerone, Kashi, Barbara’s Bakery, Annie Chun’s and Power Crunch
    • Trader Joe’s branded products or other processed products that contain high-risk GMO crop ingredients like corn, soy, cottonseed, papaya, sugar, canola, zucchini/squash (A majority of their products contain one or more of these ingredients until they can be fully transparent, I would not trust them.)
    • Pre-packaged meals like sandwiches, salads, and sushi – many of these items contain ingredients you definitely don’t want to be eating,  like cellulose (wood pulp), or imitation crab meat. Additionally, there’s way too much sodium added to these meals and they can give you a serious case of water-weight bloat and bubble gut.
    • Trader Joe’s branded dairy, yogurt, or eggs, because they are likely produced from animals fed GMO corn and soy and can contain antibiotics
    • Non-Trader Joe’s branded dairy, yogurt, or eggs because they could contain (cancer-causing) rBST growth hormone, GMOs, and antibiotics
    • Non-organic meat or dairy, Trader Joe’s still allows antibiotics and other harmful chemicals – like autolyzed yeast extract (a hidden form of MSG) in their meat.

The Shady Reason Why Trader Joe’s Allow GMOs

Given that Trader Joe’s is endangering your health with genetically modified food they sell, it’s important to understand how and why they began their sorted affair with big chemical and food giants that covertly promote GMO’s.

A vast majority of Trader Joe’s products came from ConAgra before getting out of the private label business. ConAgra sold its private label operations to TreenHouse Foods for $2.7 billion in cash, a subsidiary of Ralcorp, who previously owned Trader Joes’. ConAgra is heavily invested in GMO seeds and the chemicals that are used to grow them, and there is no doubt that their cozy business relationship with Trader Joe’s allowed them to position themselves in the private labeling business by keeping the flow of genetically modified foods lined on their grocery shelves to this day.

Trader Joe’s realized that GM foods are subsidized by the US government, which means that the kinds of foods are cheaper to grow and produce, which is why much of their food items are less expensive than other named brands.

This company also sells products that are almost identical in ingredients and taste as named brands. Trader Joe’s food producers (whoever they are) produce and repackage many of their products which equates to lower prices. This kind of behavior in the EU (which is where they are from) is called “Parasitic copying of Branded Products” to benefit from the development of cheap GM foods so they can derive a huge financial benefit from them.

They want to make it look as if the products they sell are made by reputable companies by making them appear similar the original and they’re betting the public will assume that they are as good or better in value when they are not.

The most important thing to remember when shopping at Trader Joe’s or anywhere else for that matter is to read the ingredient lists. Trader Joe’s still allows harmful petroleum-based artificial coloring, artificial flavors, carrageenan, and other questionable ingredients to creep into their stores via other brands and this is something to definitely watch out for.

If you know someone who shops at Trader Joe’s, please share this post with them. Making smart decisions together is the only way we are going to change the secretive practices of the food industry.

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Steven Peters

Owner & Publisher at Natural Revolution
Steven Peters has been a health advocate for more than a decade and proponent for alternative healing by ‘Empowering Natural Living’ through homeopathic approaches. He is also an activist for social justice and environmental causes in the GMO Labeling and Non-GMO grassroots movements across the country, and a staunch advocate for cannabis education and reform.

Read more about Steven Peters.
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