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INCIDENT REPORT: Trader Joe’s Hostile to CA Right To Know Signature Gatherers

Posted: July 16th, 2012 | Filed under: Incident Reports | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

We were sent this Incident Report by Jeanne Blackwell from California. She loves Trader Joe’s and even wrote a letter called “I love Trader Joe’s” but like thousands of TJ’s customers, she wants proof that their products do not contain genetically engineered ingredients.

Below she explains that TJ’s was hostile toward signature gatherers for the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act ballot initiative:

I was the San Luis Obispo county volunteer signature gather coordinator here in California. Our job was to gather 527,000 statewide signatures for the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act ballot initiative. We did it and with flying colors — we collected almost a million signatures statewide. In San Luis Obispo county we collected 8,000 signatures in less than a month.

Trader Joe’s was particularly ugly about allowing our signature gatherers in front of their store. They went so far as to put a sign in front whenever we were there. The employees harassed and belittled an 83-year-old volunteer by shouting in his face “You are not welcomed here.” I really tried to talk to our local managers and then I contacted the corporate office. Local managers were downright hostile and corporate never responded. I wrote a letter and sent it out to the label GMO campaign and local media.

When I saw that they carry GMO products like Barbara’s Go Lean I asked them to explain. They said more than once, and as a recently as last week, “Our store brands are NOT GMOs.” I followed up by asking about their Trader Joe corn tortillas. They assured me the corn was NOT GMO.

I would very much like to expose Trader Joe’s. I am pissed. The store does an extraordinary business and is built on the principle that their products are safe and non-GMO. People are trying to do the right thing and be responsible shoppers. They trust TJ’s. If TJ’s is lying there is going to be hell to pay.

Perhaps Trader Joe’s is so hostile because some of the food they sell contains genetically engineered ingredients. That’s why we plan to go Shopping for Truth at Trader Joe’s during the last weekend of July.