Organic Consumers Association Calls for Safeway Boycott


The Organic Consumers Association is calling on its million-plus network of consumers to boycott Safeway's O Organics brand until the supermarket chain withdraws from the Grocery Manufacturers Association and contributes financially to Initiative 522, a Nov. 5 ballot measure that would require labeling of foods containing genetically modified organisms in Washington state.

“Companies like Safeway that cozy up to corrupt industry lobby groups instead of supporting consumers’ right to know, don’t deserve our hard-earned dollars,” OCA Director Ronnie Cummins said in a press release announcing the boycott. “If Safeway wants a piece of the growing market for organic foods, the grocery chain needs to stop indirectly working to defeat GMO labeling laws.”

The GMA recently gave $472,500 — twice the amount given by the next largest donor — to defeat I-522 in Washington, according to the release. 

Last year, the GMA donated more than $2 million to kill California’s Proposition 37, a citizens’ initiative that would have required GMO labeling. 

“The OCA’s information is incorrect. Safeway has never contributed to efforts to defeat GMO labeling initiatives,” Sara Osborne, a spokeswoman for Safeway, said in an email to The Chronicle.

Still, Safeway’s indirect support through the GMA landed the grocery chain’s organic products on the OCA’s list of “Traitor Brands” targeted for boycotts.

“Safeway’s continued membership in an organization hell bent on denying consumers the right to know what’s in their food is unacceptable,” Cummins said.

The OCA contends Safeway has declined to join more than 4,400 other grocery stores nationwide that have committed to not selling genetically engineered salmon, even if approved by U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

“We have publicly stated that we do not sell genetically modified salmon and do not plan to sell it,” Osborne said.

The OCA has launched a petition asking consumers to let Safeway know that they will boycott the company’s organic brand until it withdraws from the GMA and supports I-522.

Safeway has two stores in the Twin Cities, one on Harrison Avenue in Centralia and another on Market Boulevard in Chehalis.