Grocery store goes 'non-GMO'

Hiller's hopes changes help customers

The fierce debate over genetically-modified foods has taken a new turn in Metro Detroit.

The Hiller's grocery chain has started labeling products that do not contain any "GMO's" or genetically modified organisms. You will see signs and labels that say "Non-GMO."

"The big push right now is to try to get back to basics, try to eat a little bit more wholesome, and eat foods as they were originally intended," said Justin Hiller, vice-president of Hiller's.

Hiller says the term covers a wide range of scientific engineering that changes 80 percent of the food we eat.

He explained, "It's used to extend shelf life of product. It's used to give product a certain color, a certain texture, a certain size."

He also points out that genetic modifications have allowed farmers to have produce that fights off bacteria, and some produce can even fight off certain pests.

Shoppers told Ruth to the Rescue they appreciate the new labels. "I like it because it tells me that I am getting something that's pure, probably, something that's more natural, something that's better for me and my family," said Donna Winter of West Bloomfield, as she shopped in the Hiller's in her neighborhood.

Safety Debate

While some shoppers prefer more natural products, Hiller points out the U.S. government says "genetically modified organisms" are safe to eat.

"The government fully supports genetically modified organisms. They say there's absolutely no harm," said Justin Hiller, vice-president of Hiller's.

However, not everyone is convinced, which has stirred the debate across the country.

One shopper told us, "Everyone should recall how often the government has approved something for their citizens and it has now worked out." She urged all shoppers to do their own homework, and make the most-informed decisions possible for themselves.

No matter where you stand, Hiller says it's about giving customers a choice. He also pointed out that Hiller's already labels food that is gluten-free, low-salt, no-stale, or grown in Michigan.

"We just try to help customers make better food decisions with the products that they purchase." he said.

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