A Great Article From FoodBabe.com About Trader Joe's Lack Of Transparency In Regard To Their Food Products.

Just because you are buying something from a store that you might associate with being a health food store, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, or a grocery store’s organic section for example, that does not mean that the item is healthy. I know I often feel as though these grocery store choices are better, and that as a result someone is looking out for me in the food industry, but that is not always the case. We, as the consumer, need to be smart about our shopping no matter where we are shopping.

I recently came across this article on the Food Babe website called “What Is Trader Joe’s Hiding?”. TJs is often a place that my husband and I shop. In fact, my husband primarily shops there for our food needs in general. I remember when I was first exposed to TJs I was actually disappointed in their fresh fruit and vegetable section, but I soon overlooked that because of everything else that they carried.

However, in the past months I have been doing more research on genetically engineered ingredients (GMOs), and we are now trying to limit our exposure to, or stop eating outright, these foods.

From The Food Babe article: “Trader Joe’s Official GMO Statement: Our approach to Genetically Modified Organisms is simple: we do not allow GMO ingredients in our private label products (anything with Trader Joe’s, Trader Jose’s, Trader Ming’s, etc. on the label).”  The article then points out that TJs does their own internal GMO food audit, and does not use any kind of third party or independent auditor like The Non-GMO Project which has very high standards.

“The Non-GMO Project has reached out to Trader Joe’s a number of times over the years, and we remain hopeful that at some point we will be able to forge a meaningful partnership with them. To date, it has been very difficult to ascertain the credibility of their non-GMO claims. We know that many consumers believe Trader Joe’s to be a GMO-free store, but without transparent standards or third-party verification this is impossible to confirm. Many other retailers–independent grocers, co-ops, and Whole Foods Market–are leading the way by requiring rigorous testing and labeling, and it would be great to see Trader Joe’s follow suit...” said Megan Westgate who is the executive director of the Non-GMO project.

We are trying to do what is best for our families, and our own health so I am sharing the list that FoodBabe.com posted as what to buy and what not to buy. For more information please also take time to read the article on Food Babe’s site.


  • 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 goods 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, Toffutti, 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.

I’m a bit disappointed in Trader Joe’s for not being transparent with their products, and for not letting consumers know where their food is coming from. Always remember to take the necessary time to read product labels, educate yourself, and question things that you do not understand about the food you and your family eats.

As an aside, my favorite place to get fruits and veggies is Farm Fresh To You, as it is local organic produce dropped off to your door. And the best part is you can choose what you want, how much of it you want, and how often they’ll deliver it. We actually went back to their service, after a few years hiatus, because they now deliver early in the morning. This is better because now we can bring in the box of food, and put it in the fridge all before work as opposed to their old method of delivering a box during the middle of the warm, veggie cooking day to our door step.

Source: foodbabe.com