Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

 

68 Comments

Comments

Elizabeth says ...
I have read the information on WF standards, but I am troubled regarding the reliance on QAI for inspections and verifications. I wrote to them asking about follow up with their producers and issues regarding organic food from China and got a boiler plate, non-answer. In reviewing their certification and follow-up processes--at least as much that I could find, it appears that once a supplier/grower has filed the appropriate paperwork that is it. There does not appear to be any follow-up, on-site certification, or verification of sourcing.
06/20/2008 3:01:16 PM CDT
Elizabeth says ...
One other point, what about unpackaged or loose produce? Is it labeled as to where it was grown? Since it is not specifically identified as the WFM brand, where does it fall in terms of identifying its source?
06/20/2008 3:08:40 PM CDT
hsiaw says ...
@Elizabeth Most all of our produce has signage that indicates its origin. We do our best to ensure our customers can make informed decisions about their food.
06/20/2008 4:28:57 PM CDT
Deann says ...
I personally do not want to buy any food from China. Organic included. I would also like larger labels on food items so I know where ALL the ingredients come from. If it's winter flax that comes from Vietnam, I want to know. If it's fall flax that comes from Argentina, I want to know. Please make bigger labels so that Whole Fools can have true transparency. I pay more for food at Whole Foods, and I expect more from Whole Foods.
10/22/2008 1:11:49 AM CDT
Melissa says ...
I'd like to respond to David's comment: "I shop in Washington state the land of apples. And I see that at least 75% of the apples are from foreign soil (I would like Whole Foods to comment on their carbon footprint). With the amount of produce Whole foods sells they could make a big impact on the small local farmers if they chose to buy from them before buying from overseas.I have seen the quality of Whole foods produce decline over the years." I agree completely with this comment. It's ironic that I came to this blog to post the same sentiments by using the example of how at my local store in San Francisco, California, all of the apples are "organic" monstrosities (why they are so huge? I just don't get it) that seem to have a waxy film on them..interesting...and are shipped in from...drum roll..Washington State. I am a long time shopper and can't figure out why Whole Foods is shipping in apples from Washington when there are plenty of local sources of delicious, organic, normal-sized apples that don't have a waxy film and don't cost $3 a piece. It's incredible that people in Washington State can't even support their own farmers - rather, we in California have to do it. How does this policy support "eat locally" again?
11/02/2008 11:23:11 AM CST
Jeanne Phillips says ...
Beyond the organic ingredients, what about the non organic ingredients that come from China that might be used in all of the products made by other manufacturers that Whole Foods sells, who is checking these? While the organic ingredients that Whole Foods gets may be checked, who is checking or ensuring that your vendors are following the same standards with their organic and non organic ingredients? Many of the products sold at Whole Foods are not organic. Where do the ingredients come from? Thanks
06/11/2009 7:54:26 AM CDT
Nancy Andersson says ...
I do not feel that you are up front with your customers about Chinese frozen vegetables. I cooked some frozen 365 whole foods organic edamame today. They smelled ROTTEN and tasted off. I then checked the package to see where they were from and learned that they were from China. I almost gagged. I will NEVER again buy your Chinese poor quality produce. EVER. Please listen to your customers. It makes no sense to fly spinach or edamame from China. It isn't good and this is totally hypocritical. BUY LOCAL!
10/26/2009 12:37:21 PM CDT
Samantha Gratt says ...
If every body of water in China is polluted, so we are lead to believe, then how can anything grown in China be considered healthy, whether it is organic or not?
02/01/2010 11:20:54 AM CST
Niki Tylor says ...
Hello, I an avid shopper at WFM I am outraged to have found out that WFM is out sourcing to CHINA of all places!!! and NO it is not very CLEAR on the packaging it is a small place on the back and I was Soooo sad to see this. I had so much confidence in wfm and I am saying to wfm I will not be back for some time. I will go to my local PUBLIX and I didnt like going there but since they are starting GREENWISE I will give it a try.. Sorry whole foods but you have lost a very Good Customer who spends in 700+ a week....At WFM. NO More.
02/06/2010 9:54:17 PM CST
Vicky says ...
Please post a list or link with all products sourced from china, even if one minor ingredient. I agree with others above. I don't trust food from China and feel their track record for regulation is unacceptable. In addition, the environmental impact of shipping food is substantial, poluting our oceans and air. It's one thing to truck produce along the west coast, but another to ship it half way around the world. For fresh produce, I suggest modifying your choice based on the seasons. If you want blueberries in February, you will only encourage WF to ship them from Chile. Let's vote with our pocketbooks. Boycott Chinese ingredients!
02/09/2010 1:09:59 PM CST
Alex Sanchez says ...
There is an investigative story done on this subject from ABC (Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQ31Ljd9T_Y) that explains why products from China cannot be reliably certified organic. Quality Assurance International is Whole Food's organic certification company and in an official statement they confirm that "QAI has not certified any products in China". They rely on an unassociated certifier on the farms in China! On Whole Foods comment that "The reality nowadays is that sourcing high quality organic products has gone global", I honestly expected more from WF since I'm also paying more here. Our nation produces very little these days in the age of global outsourcing but the one thing we still do very well is grow our own food. The fact that so many of Whole Foods organic products are borught in from outside the country with a very BIG carbon footprint is just sad sad sad. Are American farmer's food prices too high for Whole Foods? I am definitely not seeing any of the savings from getting organics from China passed to the consumers. In any case, I think this all flies in the face of the companies promotion of 'Buy Locally Grown'. I will stop shopping at Whole Foods and buy my produce locally at farmer's markets and just learn to eat whatever is in season. Imagine that concept.
02/10/2010 12:15:29 PM CST
ThriveAnne says ...
I'm a huge fan of Organic Food, but not of organic food from China. Here's an article from the Organic Consumer's Association which explains the issue without bias. http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_3962.cfm After weighing the words of Whole Foods reps, who, I have no doubt are doing their best, I still choose to be an avid label reader and will NOT purchase food from China. (Remember it takes 20 years of transition to be a true "organic" brand...does China have that time frame in place?) There's some question to the integrity of the Organic label in the US and we know that regulations are in place, but not always followed. Put that same concept and China where the growers are self-regulted, and I have little confidence in their ability to produce a quality organic product. As consumers, we only know what we know..unless we take the time to investigate, and even then we're still taking the word of the growers. Here's a suggestion: Maybe the distributor should sample test the product batches before putting their name on it?
02/12/2010 3:32:29 PM CST
Allen says ...
We just saw the news on this and are quite concerned that some of the items from Whole foods come from China. Many of our friends who have been shopping at Whole foods are going to cut down or stop shopping at whole foods altogether. This is a matter of trust and Whole Foods has yet to make a public announcement to their customers. I agree with many some of the other comments that food from China can not be properly evaluated. The cost would be quite high and thus not economically justifiable for Whole foods. Occasional inspection will not do the job. The problem is the system and standards in China that has created many of the issues we have seen in the past. Thus I would like to ask why Whole foods is willing to risk it all specially in this day and time where we need to support our local businesses.
02/22/2010 2:23:34 PM CST
Reed says ...
Sad to say, many of us do not trust the Chinese to deliver uncontaminated products. This is due to poor ethical and moral standards in that country in general. And it would seem that many of us do not trust Whole Foods to monitor the Chinese either. And for those who know anything about the USDA, we certainly do not trust them to oversee third party inspectors in a foreign country. I think someone else said this, but the "just trust us" response is not well received on this end. Surely you folks can do better than that. In any case the shameless price gouging keeps me out of your store most of the time anyway! I am so grateful that we have another option in Colorado.
02/23/2010 9:40:33 PM CST
dave says ...
It is nice to see that wf is honest about where the product comes from but i do not believe for one minute that they can not find framers in the usa to supple them.
02/26/2010 12:08:47 PM CST
Andrea Reese says ...
Why not support local farmers instead? Especially in California. It doesn't make sense and harms both the environment as well as the local economy to outsource produce, ship them in from other countries and add yet more carbon into the atmosphere, don't you think??
03/03/2010 9:45:51 AM CST
Shopper says ...
WF does a better job of checking out their suppliers than 90% of the businesses selling organic food, but they are still a business. They want to make money, so they make choices that meet at the crossroads of satisfying the most customers seeking organic products and turning a profit. It's a miracle that they label the food origin at all, and if you can't be bothered to read the label, caveat emptor. Since it seems to be so difficult for everyone to read the labels, even the small print, and consider where their food comes from before they buy it, and since all those customers still want organic, good quality food at a price close to what we pay for the farm-subsidied GMO garbage that you find at Ralphs, I have a crazy idea: GROW YOUR OWN. That is the only way you're ever going to know exactly where your food comes from, and the only way avoid a business is lying to you to get your money.
03/10/2010 5:14:09 PM CST
David Antonovich says ...
I am discusted to find out that I have been eating produce from china (365 frozen vegetables)..even if it is considered organic. I do not trust any product from china.. I will be returning all my frozen food I purchased from Whole Foods that is from China. I rather pay more $ for organic produce from USA.
03/18/2010 8:52:35 AM CDT
Katy says ...
I like whole food market alot because they have lots of organic food and vegetable from everywhere.
03/22/2011 6:08:44 AM CDT
cherie says ...
I think that what WF is doing is slowly introducing back into their stores a substantial amount of foods from China. This person, Jim, sounds deliberately nebulous when he says some foods may be introduced in some stores. No doubt, Whole Foods is waiting for this whole thing to blow over so they can continue as they were before. There is a huge market segment of the population that does not read the fine print. Tis is what they depend on. Shame on you Jim. You're very good at the spin.
05/25/2011 7:41:02 PM CDT
Andy Chan says ...
I am really disappointed to learn that Whole Food is sourcing from China. It is a very dangerous to source anything from China lest alone organic food. I do not trust that China is ready.
08/31/2011 2:55:02 PM CDT
janejohnson says ...
@Andy Thank you for your concern about the quality of the products we are sourcing. We understand your interest in providing yourself and your family with only the highest standard in organic products. For information on the quality foods we are sourcing from China, I encourage you to take a look at this information from the website "The R.O.C.K." (Reaching Out with Communication & Knowledge.) This article should dissolve your fears. I've also copied the link below for an archived blog of ours discussing the viability of organics from China. Again, thank you for reaching out. http://rock/?p=968 http://blog.wholefoodsmarket.com/2008/06/is-organic-from-china-possible/
09/13/2011 5:24:23 PM CDT
Nicole Sharratt says ...
I am researching stores that stock there shelves with local products. I have shopped at Whole foods a handful of times. I don't want to buy products from China. period. I am willing to spend more money, but I am disappointed that Whole foods, of all places, imports from China!
09/16/2011 9:47:43 AM CDT
janejohnson says ...
@Nicole Thank you for reaching out. We understand your concern. For information on the quality foods we are sourcing from China, I encourage you to take a look at this information from the website “The R.O.C.K.” (Reaching Out with Communication & Knowledge.) This article should dissolve your fears. I’ve also copied the link below for an archived blog of ours discussing the viability of organics from China. Again, thank you for reaching out. http://rock/?p=968 http://blog.wholefoodsmarket.com/2008/06/is-organic-from-china-possible/
09/16/2011 4:28:04 PM CDT
Deacon says ...
Wow! So disappointing... I am not liking what I hear or see. What is promoted as transparency is due to the disclosure of an internal document. This "transparency" was not elective but some very quick PR. It is also known that WF sells GMO foods as well. Frankly, I don't see any difference between WF and any other grocery store at this point. I am sorry that WF purchased our local organic store and wiped out all they had accomplished. Purchasing food from overseas while local farmers suffer is shameful. Not only do I distrust the organic nature of overseas foods, but the freshness must absolutely be absent. Part of being sustainable and having a smaller footprint means working with the seasons and what can be produced locally. Once again greed wins.
11/03/2011 11:30:34 AM CDT

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