Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

 

113 Comments

Comments

Jennifer says ...
Well said Patty Pearson. If you've ever been to China you'd know the pollution there. Too many stories about the short cuts they take with product safety. I am disappointed Whole Foods would source anything from China. I thought you were better than that which is why I pay a premium to shop there.
03/17/2012 5:03:12 PM CDT
Shilpa Acharya says ...
Yes, but now most of your organic veggies and fruits are from Mexico or South America. So much for reducing our carbon footprint, not to mention how do I know the farms in Mexico aren't a front for some drug lord. We shop at the Whole foods in Marlton, NJ and they have stopped carrying Columbia River Organics' frozen plain broccoli. The USDA cannot check every shipment that is coming through. Grown in USA is the best and it supports our farmers which is more important.
03/17/2012 4:54:07 PM CDT
Callie says ...
I would not buy any foods from China, period. Like the above comments, the thing that sticks out most is the pollution in China. This is the air that the growing vegetables, fruits, etc. are growing in, each and every day. I would not trust anything from there, for me, or my growing family.
03/18/2012 9:51:25 PM CDT
Grant says ...
Ultimately, one of the reasons I purchase from WFM is that I don't need to think about the country of origin nor should I have too. If I want to go read labels about country of origin; I can go to many other national chains and pay appreciably less for my groceries and do that - I expect more from WFM. When you intermix locally sourced fresh fruits and veggies, with items from foreign markets you are asserting them as equal in value and quality - that's not right. Chinese business has developed a bad reputation, just this week we saw another expose come out on this issue. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-03-15/china-corporate-espionage-boom-knocks-wind-out-of-u-s-companies.html If this is going on in other industries within China; what gives me comfort that what I am putting on the table is what it says it is especially when WFM is 3 parties removed from the farm? Sure, the inspector may be honest and true; but who is to say someone didn't get tipped off 3 days before the inspection (the bribing of company and government officials is commonplace) and suddenly everything passes with flying colors. The simple answer is unless WFM is willing to put its own inspectors on the farm and watch from planting to harvest to transport; I cannot and will not trust it. I encourage WFM to do the right thing and either have much higher (ie WFM employee) surveillance in China or better remove China from the supply chain until which time it can be trusted. WFM may be willing to take the risk of sourcing from China, but I'm not willing to put it on the table for my family. If that means I buy from Trader Joe's instead of Whole Foods...so be it.
03/18/2012 9:43:32 PM CDT
Hailey says ...
I am so disappointed that Whole Foods has ever and is now still buying food from China. The whole reason I shop there and pay more then other stores is because I was under the belief the product was better. Buying produce from China is not acceptable when there are local growers to the areas that should be utilized. Also the product value in China is so low with health risks and dangers. If WF has to send out someone to ensure the food I China is US approved organic why not just use a US grower? WF must be getting the produce at dirt cheap and turning around to sell for a large gain and charging all of us top dolls. Not good. I think I would now rather shop somewhere else.
03/18/2012 6:40:24 AM CDT
Peter Chea says ...
Come on People! When it comes to China they eat much healthier than any other Country in the World. They have less heart attacks! Less Cancer rate! They live longer! So why not Trust China! We trust America! Cancer rate HIGH! Heart attacks HIGH! Our Children are dying at an early AGE! Due to Obesity and Diabetes from poor eating habits. Let's Stop beating up China and Start beating up America. What are we being fed here?????????????
03/18/2012 5:52:02 AM CDT
Megan says ...
@Barry Are you asking about our 365 brand supplements, or the entire supplement selection we carry? Please let me know and I can reach out to our experts.
04/04/2012 11:26:48 AM CDT
Ty Shlackman says ...
Why does everyone hate China? Maybe their food can't be trusted but I doubt the food from many other countries can be trusted either. You really think food from third world Latin American nations is any more trustworthy? The only reason the media tells you about unsafe food from China is because they want you to hate and fear China. At least China requires genetically modified food to be labeled unlike the USA.
03/19/2012 5:37:04 PM CDT
H. Chet Bacon says ...
Personally I would like WFW to place the country of origin right on the front of the label. I never looked at the origin in WF because I ASSUMEd WFW had a unique standard. I guess I will have to ask where other food items are from, meat, chicken, fish (mostly noted already) and all other grains and cereals. I will continue to shop at WF but with a careful eye to things from now on!
03/19/2012 3:24:37 PM CDT
Hans says ...
STOP buying food from china ! Im glad I saw this article, it will surely be passed on to all I know, I thought your company was better than that. This is so unbelievable coming from Whole Foods and all that you say you stand for. It seems it always comes down to the bottom line: Greed. What hypocrites.
03/19/2012 3:19:45 PM CDT
JamesL says ...
I have a hard time trusting the USDA certification for US grown foods. Organic, to me, means multiple certifications OTHER THAN USDA. So when I see Organic from CHINA... I simply put the product down and find something else grown locally. Chinese Organic is an oxymoron, no matter how WFM tries to spin it. I know it's a small percentage of the overall product line, but customers feel misled and slightly betrayed when this information is brought to light. I, too, will be spending more dollars a Trader Joes and fewer dollars at WFM until WFM makes some changes in this department. Thanks for opening the discussion. I really do love WF, but this incident was an eye-opener.
03/19/2012 11:03:26 AM CDT
Kacie says ...
First, a thank you to Whole Foods for being up front and honest about the issue. If people feel so strongly about avoiding foods from China, it's always an option. But I have to say that it's disheartening to read such hateful comments. The xenophobia is overwhelming. I mean, seriously? "China" is not one single evil entity. You might as well judge the whole of American food production based on the brilliant ethics of Monsanto or Tyson. We're just as bad when it comes to corporate corruption, and no amount of nationalistic pride will change the facts. Chinese organic is an oxymoron? Well, what about the OTCO certified Mountain Rose Herbs? They source many organic products from China, but please, *do* tell me how they - a zero waste company - are obviously greedy corporate bloodsuckers. Or is it that the Chinese are duping them? These knee-jerk reactions just reinforce the idea that America is full of fear-mongering ethnocentric bigots. Don't knock China 'til you've been there, and I don't mean on a guided tour. Because, you know, one of the hottest topics in the Chinese/Taiwanese news right now is about banning US beef imports. Mmmm... delicious irony...
03/20/2012 9:57:18 PM CDT
Rob says ...
I am very disappointed in the response of WF to the outrage associated with sourcing from a country with ONGOING intentional food tainting and extremely corrupt business practices. The fact that WF has not come out to announce that they will no longer source from China speaks volumes about how much they care about their customers.
03/20/2012 9:32:59 PM CDT
Alec Caywood says ...
If you don't trust the organic certification from USDA Organic then you cant trust any organic label you see. Unless you grow them yourself, there is no way to verify the product label. I feel like WF has done an appropriate job in not only clarifying this issue, but also letting people know that they can check the origin of their product on the label, and they provide alternatives if you deem that origin un-trustworthy. Alec - Tulane
03/20/2012 8:33:40 PM CDT
nini says ...
And the carbon footprint of food from China is about the size of the moon. Worry less about organic, and more about the air your children breathe due to unnecessary airplane traffic. You can freeze and preserve local vegetables with little effort and provide your family with not only healthier food but healthier lungs.
03/20/2012 6:49:59 PM CDT
Susan says ...
I do not buy frozen vegetables, etc very often and would never have thought that your products would be from China. I'm glad this story has recirculated because I will check the back of all packages at your store. The story has raised concerns and I do question the integrity of your store and some of its products. I've had some concerns about the fresh produce from Mexico and won't buy it and don't understand why you sell it. I will continue to shop at WF but will be doing so with a very watchful eye on what goes in my cart. Disappointing and sadly just a sign of the times. Can't trust any chain and WF is no different.
03/20/2012 10:28:53 AM CDT
Laurence Hauben says ...
Given that we live in California, I really see no reason to buy produce from anywhere else. We can grow it here, it doesn't have to travel as far so it is fresher, and it is easier to monitor the integrity of the growers. As local organic farmer Michael Ableman (founder of Fairview Gardens) said to me back in 1993, "A good farmer is a good farmer. I'd rather eat a conventional carrot from around here than an organic one from three thousand miles away." It's not just about the label, it's about the people. Who's your farmer?
04/06/2012 12:48:12 AM CDT
Maureen says ...
Since China used melamine to up the protein content in their baby formula, it killed hundreds of Chinese babies. I won't even talk about all the recalls of pet food nor the conditions under which they raise tilapia. Since I just became aware that companies can import items i.e. tilapia, do the breading and frying here and legally label it as Made in USA, I don't want any food that can't be verified as 100% USA. I was going to make my first visit to your store this weekend since I'm pretty far away, I won't bother now. Thank you for letting me know that you buy food from China; but, you have just lost my business.
03/22/2012 11:37:11 AM CDT
Nora says ...
I don't understand what kind of world we are living in today. After I've read all those comments above, I will build my own green house and grow my organic vegetables!
04/09/2012 4:26:57 PM CDT
Virginia says ...
I was under the impression Whole Foods had stopped importing frozen foods from China. I wonder about the fresh produce? I am on Organic for serious health issues...I would hate to think all my produce is coming from China....cabbage.beets etc. I would appreciate a reply...thank you.
05/22/2012 3:14:21 PM CDT
Lisa T. says ...
I'm very disappointed that WF feels the need to import food from China when there are plenty of US growers. China is not to be trusted. They couldn't even get pet food right a couple years ago. Sorry Whole Foods...this is where I jump off.
04/24/2012 1:52:52 PM CDT
Oliver says ...
I can't say your reply impresses me. If its something you can not get anywhere else, by all means, get it from China. As far as I know though, there is little to nothing that can't be grown in the US, thus buying and shipping food around the globe is stupid and wasteful. And you're not a 99ct store, shopping at WF is expensive! So I expect the highest quality and trusting that that only comes from China is a stretch of the imagination. If the food was actually produced here in the US, where wages and labor laws are - while not great - certainly better than anything in China, I'm fine with the higher price, but not if you do the Aldi dance of cheap cheap cheap. And sorry, but I don't have time to turn every package over and see where it comes from, print it big and clear on the front if you're not embarrassed, otherwise just don't offer it, ok? You're not Walmart. Sorry, but you'll see a lot less of me from here on, I'll be at the farmers market instead, where my food is fresh and not who knows how old in a plastic bag, shipped half around the globe.
04/24/2012 1:45:54 PM CDT
Nancy Weber says ...
My concern is that I am attempting to utilize the few dollars I have to purchase wisely so that I am not only attempting to purchase healthy foodstuffs but am attempting to support those growers and producers in my own economic sphere, as much as possible. Why is WFs contributing to other country's economics when American producers are available? I think if something is strictly grown in another country, then is it really something we need to be eating? Health-wise I was always taught to try to eat foods when in season and in region and while there are things that people desire from other countries, purchasing them from other countries that have essentially embargoed any reciprocal exchange of goods is ludicrous at best. If we have a symbiotic relationship with another country, i.e. they purchase our goods on a par that we purchase their goods, then fine but that isn't what is occurring with regards to China. I am personally not 'anti-China' necessarily but I think we all, including WFs, needs to rethink their actions in regards to trade with them. I don't know that I would trust a system of inspection that has allowed MANY issues with their products to easily pass through to us and I certainly will not be supporting those that support the one sided trade exchange that we currently have with that or any other country with like trade agreements.
05/08/2012 9:56:01 AM CDT
Bonnie says ...
Are we talking about the FDA that approves of GMOs and Monsanto? I just want to know if there is another FDA that I didn't know about. LOL
05/01/2012 8:22:14 PM CDT
Dennis says ...
As an educated Food Health Scientist it is MY OPINION that ... Although WF's claims use of 3rd-Party companies to "certify" organic farms in China, WF does not state whether the product is confirmed as being organic when it arrives at the end of the shipment in the USA. Asian shippers often substitute or dilute product shipments to the USA with inferior products (ie. "non-organic"). Perhaps WF's should consider using the Food Industury QC methods such as HACCP (Hazards And Critical Control Points) evaluations. While “California blend” might be used by traditional marketers as a "common term" for a blend of broccoli, cauliflower and carrots, WF's does not print the origin in a prominent place in EQUIVALENT PRINT SIZE. Don't kid yourself WF's ... your Shoppers are educated and smart enought to recognize misleading labeling. The -response- from WF's management is a thinly veiled attempt to "rationalize" a misleading marketing decision to obscure product origins on some products. This is only one 'customer's' opinion ... but you should take stock and recalibrate your marketing to take the HIGH ROAD in advertising and marketing ... particularly when products are from difficult geograpical regions where dubious practices are frequently the rule in business. Stick to clear, honest, highest quality and overt-honesty in labeling ... it make WFs a success and it is what is most appreciated by consumers today!
05/24/2012 4:28:17 AM CDT

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