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USDA Disappoints: No Regulations on GE Alfalfa

It is difficult to express how disappointed we are by the USDA’s decision to completely deregulate genetically engineered (GE) alfalfa without restrictions. This news means farmers will now be able to plant Roundup Ready GE alfalfa without restrictions, beginning as soon as this spring. The USDA had been considering two potential decisions on this issue – either full deregulation or deregulation with restrictions. The latter would have set rules to protect non-GE crops from contamination. While Whole Foods Market and other advocates for non-GE and organic foods feel the USDA’s deregulation decision is a setback, we will continue the fight for the protection of non-GE food, as we have ever since genetically engineered crops first appeared in the marketplace. Whole Foods Market advocated strongly for deregulation with restrictions to preserve the ability of non-GE and organic growers to avoid contamination. It seemed that the USDA was finally recognizing that cross-contamination of GE alfalfa could potentially impact organic and non-GE farmers and consumers, both domestically and for our export markets. In fact, by inviting non-GE industry members to D.C. to discuss this issue, it appeared as though the USDA was acknowledging that organic and non-GE agriculture has the right to not only survive, but to thrive alongside GE agriculture. Unfortunately, the USDA’s decision fell far short of this mark, and we believe that unrestricted planting of GE alfalfa without setting any clear coexistence framework, with thresholds for contamination and providing for ongoing testing and verification, is irresponsible. As true advocates of non-GE foods, we had hoped for far better from this process. Here is a post on Samuel Fromartz's Chewswise blog that does a good job of describing the potential fallout. And this blog from the Non-GMO Project website responds to "the misguided distress expressed by the Organic Consumers Association and others in the last two days since the USDA announced deregulation of GMO alfalfa." Many people have asked us why we endorsed the coexistence option rather than an outright ban on GE alfalfa. That was never an option in Washington!  The USDA presented the industry with only two options that they were considering– deregulation and deregulation with restrictions. Given the pervasive planting of GE crops in the U.S. – 93% of soy, 86% of corn, 93% of cotton and 93% of canola seed planted were genetically engineered in the U.S. in 2010 – the option of an outright ban was not on the table. Whole Foods Market — along with the National Cooperative Grocers Association, the National Organic Coalition, the Organic Trade Association, and other companies and groups — endorsed the path of deregulation with restrictions, or coexistence, not because it was a perfect path, but because it was a path to create meaningful change right now in the regulating of genetically engineered foods and the protection of non-GE foods. Because we supported the USDA’s approach of coexistence, certain consumer groups misunderstood our efforts and accused us of supporting big biotech, endorsing the proliferation of GE crops, and turning our backs on our shoppers’ and their desire to avoid GE food. Nothing could be further from the truth! Whole Foods Market has been a staunch supporter of non-GE foods in the marketplace.  We have taken a strong and visible stance on biotechnology in agriculture, and will continue to do so. 
  • We believe that GE food should be clearly labeled, and that the USDA and FDA’s policies on GE foods are not consistent with our consumers’ expectations.
  • Since 1992, before GE crops were even commercialized, we have been educating and advocating on this issue, and we will continue to pursue our right to sell non-GE food.
  • We are proud to be a founding leader of The Non-GMO Project, which works to ensure the sustained availability of non-GMO choices through an industry-wide product standard. (Genetically engineered and Genetically Modified Organism — GMOs — are used interchangeably.)
  • We are committed to sourcing our store brand products to avoid GE ingredients, and we will continue to fight for strong organic standards that do not allow the use of GE crops.
  • We support the National Organic Standards, which prohibit GMOs in organics, and we champion informed consumer choice with regard to GMOs.
  • Our 365 Everyday Value® and Whole Foods Market™ brand products are sourced to avoid ingredients grown from genetically engineered seed, and our partnership with the Non-GMO Project will enable us to verify and label these products.
We will continue to work aggressively on this issue because we believe that GE food ingredients should be clearly labeled, and that consumers who want to avoid them should have an actionable way to do so. While yesterday’s decision will make our work more difficult, we are as committed as ever to ensuring that non-GE food remains available and we will continue to advocate for our farmers and for our shoppers on this issue.

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218 comments

Comments

Student says …

As a whole I like WFM. For a corporation, you've appeared to evade corruption. However, you aren't fighting hard enough anymore. These letters feel like a politician's; you no longer represent the values that I hold. I'm switching to Vitamin Cottage.

Philip says …

Thank you for fighting the good fight and please do continue.

Brian says …

Whole Foods is caving. Period. Contamination is guaranteed, as is soil contamination. The only viable mitigation is NO GMOs! OCA nailed you on this FACT.

Angela says …

I find it so interesting that people are outright blaming WFM for this. Take a look at yourself and put up a fight too! They are trying and as a consumer, I am trying as well. If you're not going to shop at Whole Foods for good quality food, then WHERE are you going to shop?? Walmart? Jewel? They only sell organic foods to jump on the bandwagon, they don't care about the environment and what are they doing about the subject of GMOs?? NOTHING! Stop whining and blaming Whole Foods..you're acting like a bunch of drama filled teenagers. Grow up!

Suzanne says …

I have a question for all of the people who say they are no longer going to shop at WF... where will you shop instead? Seriously, are you going to go shop at Safeway because you're unhappy about GMOs?

former whole foods consumer says …

where are we going to shop? LOCAL FARMS AND ROAD SIDE FRESH FOOD VEGETABLE VENDORS... ITS CALLED LOCAL NON GMO FRESH! ALONG WITH GROWING OUR OWN HEIRLOOM GARDEN VEGGIES! GEEZ, THIS GUY ACTS LIKE WF IS THE ONLY PLACE!

Rick says …

Choosing the lesser of two evils is still choosing evil. An industry leader and powerful voice such as Whole Foods must be the voice for the ones who can't be as easily heard. Fight to keep the correct option on the table or your whole business model means nothing. I lived in Austin for 13 years and watched Whole Foods grow from a corner store to an empire and I paid the higher prices because I knew what I was getting. Now I'm not sure. You say you will do your best to avoid GMOs. Not good enough. I'll grow my own.

Ula says …

I encourage everyone who is appalled by this to: 1. Immediately stop shopping at Whole Foods 2. Start passing out fliers in front of your local Whole Foods about this disaster 2. Stop purchasing Organic Valley and Stony Field products 3. Make all local co-ops in your area aware of this so that they stop carrying the products of above

Pamela Demarest says …

I am disappointed and will never shop at WFM again. You should of stood up for what you truly believed in...now you are no better than them.

sean says …

I already had heard shady reports about the 365 california line that had products from china. what kind of manipulative marketing is that?! and now conceding to allow GMO products...I think i'm finally done with whole foods. they're more the 'image' of ideal without the follow through

obamalove says …

I support Whole Foods!

Bill says …

Does Whole Foods support the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund? If not, I'd like to suggest that you do so. To those that are disappointed with Whole Foods on this issue, I'd like to suggest that you visit the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund and learn more about this organization this truly "fighting the good fight" on this and other similar issues. I think that you will like what you learn about FTCLDF! Healthy regards, Bill

JRC says …

BOYCOTT MONSANTO NOW!!!!! FOR EVER!!!!!! Mutated deformed impotent cattle are coming. Silent Spring is coming. Armed Revolution induced by starvation is coming to America !!!!!!! Stop the GE/GMO Foods/Feed Crops before the irreversible conflict with Nature cause the collapse of America!!!! NO KIDDING- READ THE SCIENCE- OUR GOVT. is SOLD OUT. IMPEACH EVERYONE!!!!!!

MARY GRAVITT says …

I'm outta your store forever. As the 'holy grail' of organic cosumers, your company alone had the clout to stand up to MONSANTO. Instead, your CEO is in bed with their's. SHAME ON YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This will ultimately put you out of business, as we all starve to death over time from eating foods with no nutritional value that cause disease such as cancer. You have read the studies and chose to "coexist'. What a lovely term for DOOMSDAY!!!!!!!!!!!

Kim says …

You certainly could have stood with other retailers and demanded that the USDA not approve it at all. Maybe you would have lost. Maybe you would have gotten more than we did. How many current Whole Foods products are produced with GMOs?

Stopgmo says …

When a ban is not an option, You Make It An Option and Whole Foods had the funds to back a movement! What subterfuge!

Theresa says …

Have you checked out this Organic Consumers Association page on Facebook? I've noticed consistent bad information posted on their part. It's getting a lot of people angry with you and I'm not sure it's called for.

Toni Reita ND says …

Time eventually discloses all interests. It's clear, from where I sit, that the USDA has shown a strong, consistent pattern of abuse of the meaning & spirit of what consumers expect with organics. At recent count the USDA Organic program allowed more than 275 synthetic chemicals in the production, process or end "organic" product. To consumers demanding whole, fresh, unadulterated food this represents "organic" fairy dust, betrayal and deception. How can the USDA manage Organic Certification on one hand and be in bed with Monsanto on the other? I believe their recent decisions have shown who their main squeeze really is. Monsanto, Blackwater & Gates would not have partnered if they didn't anticipate difficult times ahead for their agenda. Consumers can, and must, vote with their dollars. Letters to our representatives, or pleading with various organizations are ignored. While we still have the option of truly, raw & unadulterated foods, we need to stop supporting any organization that violates our beliefs. It does take more effort to avoid all GMO, that means you can't even buy a conventional jar of mayonnaise! Aren't you willing to sacrifice convenience for purity and buy nothing that requires a label of ingredients? The lessor of two evils is still evil. Would a more meaningful position by Whole Foods have been to reject both choices and said a loud and clear NONE OF THE ABOVE. I wonder if that might have been more effective? This is far too critical a choice to be left to grade school multiple choice answers. Instead make clear your stance, even if it's outside the tiny box that the USDA provided to direct Whole Foods and the rest of us into. They treat us like cattle to be herded. Stay Healthy! Toni http://www.natural-health-home-remedies.com/gmo.html

Haji Warf says …

One pro-active way of mitigating the disappointment of your customers and proving, once and for all, that you are "true advocates of non-GE foods" is to set up a labeling requirement for ALL products that seek shelf space at your store. GMOs in the ingredients list? Full disclosure required in order to be carried by Whole Foods. Where's THAT sticker? As the USDA has proven, they are NEVER going to require GMO labeling. And to have just your product line labeled as "Non-GMO" is insufficient. You also have to go the other way -- cover the full spectrum of transparency. Since you have taken on the role, we look to you to provide this leadership in the industry (notice, I did not say, "don't carry GMO products; just require labeling of it). Yes, this prerequisite would be a first for a food retailer, but it certainly would solidify the entire GMO movement behind your efforts. I urge you to lead the market -- it's begging to be captured! Show us you are serious about labeling -- take the responsibility on yourself.

Spencer Essey says …

As someone who is passionate about wholesome good food for people, I stand with everybody in their anger about this issue, but as I read these comments I realize that the majority of anger here is misdirected towards the wrong entity, and that the true threat here, and the one with which to be angry, is Monsanto. The fight needs to be brought to them.

David Zuckerman says …

I just curious, does wholefoods carry "natural", "sustainable", and other greenwashing termed items. The reality is that unless something is certified organic or is somehow certified GMO free, then odds are it contains GMO. Look at the ingredents on everything you buy. If there is corn, corn syrup, Soy lecithin, canola oil, etc. etc. then it contains GMO. "Natural" and "sustainable" only mean what the marketers want you to think. Unfrotunately we all have to do our research unless the fod is certified.

WK says …

this is so disheartening! WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO?!

Renee says …

My family has been shopping at whole foods for several years now, and can no longer support this business. I would drive 40 minutes to the nearest whole foods store a couple times per month, but now you have lost my business entirely. I would spend close to $800/month to feed my family, supporting whole foods mission. I will take my $9,600.00 per year and support my local farmers and our small certified organic stores that are fighting to keep GMO's out of farming industry. You didn't fight hard enough!!! How can you say you "are as committed as ever to ensuring that non-GMO food remains available" after you agreed to coexist? You have stated that "365 Everyday Value® and Whole Foods Market™ brand products are sourced to avoid GMOS." Now, how can we be so sure? How can we trust you? You have not fought hard enough to protect seed purity and the future life of our children. In fact, if Whole Foods was on the front lines, we would all be dead!

John Graham says …

Somebody has got to get hold of this situation, this inter-bickering. I guess it might as well be me. People PLEASE, Keep your eyes on the prize, and not this internal drama. Don't allow USDA/Monsanto to divide and conquer. Perhaps USDA Disappoints because Whole Foods Market disappoints with a weak stance ! Now I must go and shop at the local community heath food store. The ones who truly oppose GE foods. It looks like this. WHOLE FOODS MARKET took a weak stance of accepting coexistence with transgenic pollution. (The self-admitted polluter is Monsanto. Transgenic pollution happens by transfer of pollen by wind and honeybees.) This "coexistence" would be if the USDA approved partial deregulation of GE Alfalfa The USDA then decided to fully deregulate. Why? Perhaps because Whole Foods Market took a weak stand. I am very disappointed with Whole Foods Market. I have read and understand Whole Foods Market's reasons, BUT WHY DID YOU NOT BARGAIN WITH THE USDA ? WHY DID YOU ACCEPT THEIR 2 MEASLY OPTIONS ? WHY DID YOU NOT STICK TO THE VERY REASONABLE STANCE OF NON-DEREGULATION OF GE ALFALFA ? Please Whole Foods Market, seriously consider where that weak stance got us. NOW ALFALFA IS DEREGULATED. Once the pollen is out, it is irreversible. PLEASE WHOLE FOODS MARKET, AFTER BEING TAKEN ADVANTAGE OF BY THE USDA, CHANGE YOUR POSITION TO NON-DEREGULATION OF GE ALFALFA Bargain from that position, not a weaker one. If you can change you ways, I will come back to your market.

trayntp says …

Two words...Jeffrey Immelt. Of course Obama's USDA did this.

Crissy Trask says …

You were given two horrible choices, I get it. What you seem to be saying is hey, GE alfalfa has been approved, we just need to make it as unpleasant as possible. But "coexistence" shouldn't be a long-term solution. Get back in the fight.

Dissappointed says …

I find two things dissapointing: 1) the lack of comments on this statement released by Whole Foods from its many consumers, unless WFM is deleting them...and 2) the fact that as a company dedicated to the organic label, you have succumbed to the USDA's decision without any fight whatsoever. You did write, "Many people have asked us why we endorsed the coexistence option rather than an outright ban on GE alfalfa. That was never an option in Washington! The USDA presented the industry with only two options..." This is a sorry excuse. Companies such as yours, with a highly dedicated consumer base, as well as being an entity that succeeds off the organic model, have a lot of say in these matters. the USDA never took Organics seriously until Wal-Mart (of all companies) decided to listen to what the market wanted and include Organic products in its stores. After that the USDA saw that the Organic movement was growing, and had to take action. You are where you are because of the customers that led you there, customers who (as far as they KNOW), are eating all organic...thats what they are PAYING FOR, and you have bowed to bad governement regulation that then results in the deception of your customers. On another note, a well-run business would reflect what its customers wanted in its actions with such news. If you truly wanted to support your clientele who even more importantly support YOU, you would stand up against the USDA and refuse any products using GMOs to be put on your shelves. This would hurt your clientele, who would then demand change, which would result in the USDA rethinking its actions. Demand dictates Supply....respect this logic and respect your customers.

paig292 says …

@Dissappointed We have a moderated comment queue so you won't see your comments immediately. Also, we moderate sporadically after normal working hours and over the weekend since those are non-work times for us. Thanks.

bianca says …

The usda doesn't care. They got the head corporation of Monsanto working in the usda as well as fda and epa. They're all a bunch of crooked liars trying to make their big bucks. They should be held responsible for making America fat, with their GE foods they've changed human dna.

Brigitte says …

Hmn, I wonder how big the labeling will be. I can go to any other grocer and search for organic food and read every label, but with two kids in tow I have found it more convenient to go to Whole Foods and just shop. Now I may have to search and read labels at Whole Foods as well. I hope the labels are clear, on the front and hopefully in a "GE contaminated" aisle.

Glenn says …

"We told them (USDA) not to do it, we swear we did!" You lost a customer and many of my friends too. I suggest WFM make a statement through a televised medium and inform people how we are all going to turn this thing around.

Guinevere says …

Thank you for quickly publishing this blog. I am an avid Whole Foods shopper and supporter. I think you have been remarkable pioneers in all of our quest to keep our nations food as clean as it can be. I am truly saddened that more people do not seem to care about the impact that these inferior crops may have on our nations food supply and our individual health for that matter. I think the best thing all consumers can do is vote with their dollars and buy organic, buy from organizations such as Whole Foods who pursue excellence so that I (we) can shop without having to freak out over labels.... trying to decipher the horrific ingredients listed. You guys are the best- you make a huge impact to so many people. I really have to say THANK YOU!!!!! Thank you for educating the masses and thank you for attempting to regulate or create some order to this GMO chaos.

Joshua says …

As a former employee and current shareholder, I am disgusted by your recent decision to give in to GMO alfalfa. I will no longer shop at your store, and will organize boycotts and protests at all of my local stores. I am so disappointed.

paig292 says …

Please note: Links and excerpts from the OCA's misleading article will not be approved as they do not meet our Comment Posting Guidelines: http://blog.wholefoodsmarket.com/comment-posting-guidelines/ You are welcome to post a dissenting opinion, but it must be original. Thank you.

Mae says …

I am certain that not all products at WFM are GMO free - WE have to read labels carefully. Monsanto has cornered the Agriculture business and we've been eating GMOs all along and in the feed for livestock. Big Companies have a way of sneaking GMOs into foods under various names and just because it says all natural doesn't mean its good for you. I only buy foods labeled GMO Free, USDA Certified Organic and Wild Caught Fish and the only places I shop are Trader Joe's and WFM.

former whole foods consumer says …

i was a former whole food shopper. i will not shop there anymore. i will support local farms and food stands now. WF you stink for contaminating yours and our food supply now. our entire neighborhood is mad. we are banding together just as the rest of us here. we will boycott and inform others as well. you have sealed your financial coffin on this one. gmo can not coexist with organic with out contaminating the entire supply until it all becomes gmo. you are contaminating your childrens future by doing this. peaceful revolution. V for victory!

Irritated says …

Everyone that is hating on Whole Foods for not standing up to Monsanto....Shame on you! You need to educate yourself on the real issue here. Why didn't the people of the US stand up and speak out against Monsanto and the USDA? The deregulation of GE seeds will have a huge impact on the food supply for the entire globe not just the stuff that is being sold to whole foods. Take a stand, contact your congressman, speak out against the USDA's decision...don't wait for Whole Foods to do it for you. I will continue to support Whole Foods Market. I want to thank them for everything that they have done in the past 30 plus years to get natural and organic foods into the mainstream.

josh says …

i have been shopping at your store for 28 years and with a few quick calculations i can see that i've spent close to a million dollars for my family's groceries. wow. bye, bye whole foods. p.s. no matter how much money you spend on p.r. we know you sold out.

Merdeka says …

Thank you for this very clear reminder to support local farmers and, more importantly, grow my own food! I will not be shopping at Whole Foods again.

JasonMChicago says …

Why not put the most prevelant GMO on your unacceptable ingredients list? Put HFCS on the list and make a statement and show you really care about nonGMO in your stores! Do something to show the consumer you care!!!

paig292 says …

WHOLE FOODS MARKET RESPONDS TO YOUR CONCERNS: Thank you for being passionate about genetically engineered (GE or GMO) crops and for expressing your concern about the availability of non-GMO foods. We are very passionate about this too and are extremely upset that our position has been distorted out there. Don’t be fooled by the OCA (Organic Consumers Association) as it often twists the truth, which confuses consumers. This time, OCA is misleading you by implying that we have “surrendered” to Monsanto and “cut a deal” for co-existence and that we’ll receive “compensation.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Whole Foods Market, along with the National Cooperative Grocers Association, the National Organic Coalition, the Organic Trade Association, Organic Valley, Stonyfield Farms, United Natural Foods and many others in the organic community, were trying to secure protections for organic farmers so biotechnology companies for the first time would be held accountable if GE crops polluted non-GE crops and would be forced to pay for the damages. (No money would ever go to us!) We were also pushing for measures to protect seed purity so that non-GE alfalfa supplies could be maintained. Unfortunately, none of those protections were approved as, to our utter disappointment, the USDA decided to completely deregulate GE alfalfa without restrictions. This means farmers will now be able to plant Roundup Ready GE alfalfa beginning as soon as this spring without having to take into consideration its potential to contaminate neighboring organic and other non-GE alfalfa fields intended to be sold in markets demanding non-genetically engineered products. This is a huge loss for organic and non-GE farmers and consumers who want to have access to non-GE foods. For the OCA to widely spread misinformation and lies about Whole Foods Market and other organic companies by saying that we are joining forces with the biotechnology industry (Monsanto) is beyond ludicrous--especially at a time when we all need to come together to support our goal of ensuring the availability of non-GE foods in the marketplace. To help clarify our overall position, we think it is helpful to see how Megan Westgate, Executive Director of the NON-GMO Project, describes the coalition efforts: "Leading up to the ruling, a broad coalition of organic organizations and companies were working around the clock in an attempt to influence the USDA’s decision. The USDA had already made it clear that alfalfa would be deregulated, but hope remained that there might be some way to soften the blow. Organic Valley, Whole Foods and Stonyfield Farm, along with many others in the organic community, were doing everything in their power to secure protections for organic farmers so that if their fields were contaminated once the GMO alfalfa was released, biotechnology companies for the first time would be held accountable for their pollution and would be forced to pay for the damages. These groups were also pushing for measures to protect seed purity so that non-GMO alfalfa supplies could be maintained. Unfathomably, these tireless organic organizations are now being criticized for their efforts. In total denial of the incontrovertible fact that the USDA was never even remotely considering a full ban on GMO alfalfa, some are suggesting that these group’s efforts to make the most of a bad situation *somehow* (though no one is very specific on how, exactly) signals corruption, and are even calling for boycotts. HOW ON EARTH is taking this out on 1200 organic family farmers going to help anything?! This is divisiveness we cannot afford." You can read the full article here: http://www.nongmoproject.org/2011/01/29/team-organic-will-never-surrender-to-monsanto-now-we-continue-the-fight-together/ Additionally, you may have seen strange accusations saying that Whole Foods Market has agreed to sell genetically engineered foods. We haven’t agreed to anything! This is another attempt to twist the facts. The reality is that no grocery store in the United States, no matter what size or type of business, can claim they are GMO-free. While we have been and will continue to be staunch supporters of non-GMO foods, we are not going to mislead our customers with an inaccurate claim (and you should question anyone who does). Here’s why: the pervasive planting of GMO crops in the U.S. and their subsequent use in our national food supply. 93% of soy, 86% of corn, 93% of cotton, and 93% of canola seed planted in the U.S. in 2010 were genetically engineered. Since these crops are commonly present in a wide variety of foods, a GMO-free store is currently not possible in the U.S. (unless the store sells only organic foods.) Since the U. S. national organic standards do not allow the use of GMO ingredients and practices in the growing or production of organic foods, choosing organic is one way consumers can avoid GMO foods. The other is through labeling, of which we are strong supporters. Here is a look at some of the other things we have done on the non-GE front over the past couple of decades: •We have advocated for mandatory labeling of GMO foods since 1992, even before they were made commercially available. •We were founding members of the Non-GMO Project, which works to ensure the sustained availability of non-GMO choices through an industry-wide product standard to create a non-GMO labeling program that can be fully substantiated. •Our 365 Everyday Value® and Whole Foods Market™ brand products are sourced to avoid GMOS, and our partnership with the Non-GMO Project will enable us to verify and label both natural and organic products. In fact, we have enrolled our store brand food products in this pioneering product verification program, which ensures the sustained availability of non-GMO choices through an industry-wide product standard. These include products that natural as well as those that are organic. •Beyond our stores, we have publicly advocated for clear labeling of GE food and shared our concerns that the USDA and FDA’s policies on GE foods are not consistent with our consumers’ expectations. We will continue to work aggressively on this issue because we believe that GMO food ingredients should be clearly labeled, and that consumers who want to avoid them should have an actionable way to do so. While the USDA’s decision will make our work more difficult, we are as committed as ever to ensuring that non-GMO food remains available and we will continue to advocate for our farmers and for our shoppers on this issue.

John Hogan says …

I guess this should not be a surprise. This just gave the All Clear to what has already been done to the Organic Farmer. Monsanto can threaten to sue w/o the threat of being sued or being liable. So now an Organic Farmers crop has more risks of being contaminated but yet their (the farmer is) still held liable for cleanup or risk being sued for patent infringement! What a great idea! USDA simply search "monsanto sues farmers"

Tomas Zeller says …

Whole Foods - if the above is truly your stance, then stand with us and abolish the "natural" branded items in your store. It's organic or nothing. You're either with us or against us - don't hide behind the rhetoric of "providing our customers with a choice".

Rob says …

I personally make it a point during my travels across the states to plan my trip around a Whole Foods Store but considering the fact that Whole Foods Markets is bending to Monsanto and GMO I will no longer be doing business with Whole Foods Markets any longer. Whole Foods Market is doing damage control here and as sincere as this blog may seem it is in itself distorted. I applaud Whole Foods Market in its initial stand against Monsanto and GMO but in light of its current position (which i measure in action and NOT words)I can no longer support Whole Foods Market. Food co-ops and farmers markets are where the strength still remains. Godspeed.

Debra Trojan says …

I talked to your corporate office six months ago and was told that there were only TWO products in your entire 365 line that Whole Foods guaranteed to be GMO-free; all the rest MAY have GMO in them. What a crock of S%$t! The average person who shops at WFM believes that the 365 line is GMO-free and that's why they are willing to pay your inflated prices. You guys are a FRAUD!

paig292 says …

@Debra Trojan Whole Foods Market enrolled our entire private label – all of our store brand products sold under the 365 Every Day Value and Whole Foods Market labels – in the Non-GMO Project verification program. All of our products are going through a 3rd party verification process, and you'll see the Non-GMO Project Verified seal show up on products as they complete the process. For a complete list of our products and those from other food makers, visit the Non-GMO Project Website. http://www.nongmoproject.org/consumers/search-participating-products/

Dee says …

As my comment awaits "moderation" before being posted--not yet posted-- it appears Whole Foods is also screening comments. How typical--post only a few critical and an uncommon lot of supportive comments, including by apparent Whole Food personnel.

paig292 says …

@Dee We clearly state that comments to our blog are moderated and that they must meet our Comment Posting Guidelines for no offensive language (vulgarity), no flaming, no personal attacks, only original material, and more. See the full guidelines: http://blog.wholefoodsmarket.com/comment-posting-guidelines/ On this specific post, currently 12 comments have not been approved because they did not meet these guidelines. Also, here's a link to blog post we did about the Non-GMO label; the images show the label on a few products. Not all of our 365 and Whole Foods branded products have the label yet because they are in the process of going through 3rd party verification. http://blog.wholefoodsmarket.com/2010/10/celebrate-non-gmo-month/

Dee says …

Looks like your own spokesperson, Paige Brady, is monopolizing the comments here. I don't trust Whole Foods anymore. You have done so many things of questionable nature from a sustainability perspective, while dominating and controlling a large market -- this just seems to fit a bit too well. Corporate profits are the bottom line. And by the way, I read analysis in the past of your frozen 360 vegetables (or maybe your Whole foods brand, get them mixed up)-- as I recall, it was another beware, more falseness situation. And is there no fish you won't sell if there are buyers no matter how endangered? Or small company you won't take over? So spare us the false indignity. And by the way, I'd like to know where you are labeling GE or GMO on your products. And why did you not seek the organic communities input and letters to the USDA before this pact with the devil?

Brian says …

What percentage of Whole Foods' sales come from products that contain unlabeled GMO organisms, especially soy, corn, and canola? Whole Foods is choosing profit over ethics. If they didn't back GMO poisoning of the Earth and the people and animals inhabiting it, they wouldn't sell the poison! There is no compromise between right and wrong.

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