( Whole Foods Market logo )

Whole Foods is pulling back on its plan to require GMO labeling for all foods in stores by September.

The Austin, Texas-based company announced the mandatory initiative in 2013, and a letter sent to suppliers in mid-May by A.C. Gallo, chief operations officer, said Whole Foods’ plans are on hold.

Gallo referred to the proposed Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard proposed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a contributor to the company’s decision.

“As the USDA finalizes the federal regulation in the coming months and the food industry assesses the impact, we do not want our policy to pose further challenges for you and your businesses,” the note said.

“While the proposed rule speaks to requirements for disclosing a bioengineered food, it is silent on requirements for making an on-label non-GMO claim. Given the uncertain details of the regulation, we do not expect the verification of non-GMO claims on existing banded products by the previously communicated Sept. 1, 2018 deadline.”

Gallo said this is not a permanent cancellation of the initiative.

“Once there is a better understanding of the final federal regulation, we will be able to provide further updates and timelines.”