January 23, 2014
Left Coast Naturals Pioneers Policy to be 100% Non-GMO by December 2015.
BC-based company the first distributor in North America to take this step.
Burnaby, British Columbia (January 15, 2014) Left Coast Naturals, a British Columbia-based natural foods manufacturer and distributor representing nearly 30 brands, 200 bulk foods and three house brands (Hippie Foods, Skeet & Ike’s, and Left Coast Bulk Foods), is taking the industry lead in ensuring its entire catalogue will avoid genetically modified organisms (GMOs) by December 31, 2015. Through the development of its policy and implementation plan, and with guidance from the Non-GMO Project Standard, Left Coast Naturals will vet and phase out any items that contain GMOs by the deadline.
The Burnaby-based company has a nationwide reach and a track record as a trailblazer in sustainability and environmental issues. “We feel this is the direction in which our industry needs to go – in which we all need to go. Someone had to step up first—why not us?” says Ian Walker, President of Left Coast Naturals. “Our products are all about staying true to the way nature made them. GMOs stand for the opposite. This is something we will not support.”
Nature’s Path Foods, another BC-based sustainable food company, has played a strong advocacy role on the non-GMO front and congratulates Left Coast Naturals for taking a stand. “As a local organic food company committed to the non-GMO movement, we’re thrilled to see our friends at Left Coast Naturals show such dedication to keeping GMOs out of our food supply,” says Arjan Stephens, Executive VP of Sales and Marketing at Nature’s Path Foods. “It’s proactive policies like these and the actions of conscious consumers that are making BC a hot bed for growing transparency in the nation’s food system.”
For over 15 years, Left Coast Naturals has asked its vendors to provide letters confirming Non-GMO status. Today, as more commercial crops are being genetically modified, and public concern about GMO issues grows, the company finds that new tools includingthird party verification and lab testing can offer definitive confirmation of non-GMO status. Left Coast Naturals recognizes that it’s now possible to offer a deeper level of transparency to its customers and more accurately follow the company’s position on avoiding GMO ingredients.
Fast-tracked Schedule for Change
Effective immediately, all new products developed by Left Coast Naturals, or brought into its distribution service, will need to prove their non-GMO status. For items already being distributed by Left Coast Naturals, strict timelines have been set for weeding out GMOs from both its bulk foods and packaged grocery catalogues. Certified Organic items will be given special consideration, as Certified Organic standards do not permit the use of GMO inputs. Left Coast Naturals will work with current vendors whose products include suspected GMO ingredients to develop a plan for transitioning to Non-GMO ingredients by the 2015 deadline.
Extra Vigilance Left Coast Naturals House Brand Products
All in-house products will be 100% Non-GMO by December 31, 2014. As a further level of vigilance, any house brand product with ingredients deemed “high risk” of containing GMOs, e.g. corn or canola, will be verified by the Non-GMO Project, regardless of their Certified Organic status.
Left Coast Naturals will publish progress reports in July 2014 and December 2014 to share learnings, and update on their progress by category.
About Left Coast Naturals
Founded in 1996, Left Coast Naturals is an organic and natural food manufacturer and distributor based in Burnaby, British Columbia. Distributing nearly 30 brands, 200 bulk foods, and three house brands—Hippie Foods, Skeet & Ike’s, and Left Coast Bulk Foods—to grocery, specialty and natural food stores across Canada, Left Coast Naturals is committed to serving the planet, the community, and customers. It is a certified B Corp and was recently selected as one of Canada’s Top 100 Small & Medium Employers. The company celebrates natural foods and only uses pure, simple, whole-food ingredients. What a radical idea! For more information, please visit leftcoastnaturals.com; Twitter @LeftCoastFoods; and Facebook facebook/leftcoastnaturals.