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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

Louise says …

You don't really care for the organics question. You said yourself awhile ago, that its all about the money. I won't shop at your place. You are a fake.

Andrew Dickey says …

Soon GE/GMO pollen or seed will spread to NON~ GE/GMO stock and it will be all the same. They are looking to have farmers here in ID grow GE Sugar Beets and the farmers may want this!! So I believe we are getting caught from the Monsanto and others + some farmers who want this garbage in their fields. So grow your own folks.. Find a local grower who grows their own and support them. Sponsor Seed savers exchange and exchange NON GE/GMO Seed with others. Watch how your foods will be pollinated. This is another sad day for me....

Tom says …

Lot of childish remarks here about taking business elsewhere. I'm sure all the dedicated employees will appreciate that. These are from the same liberals that want government to protect them from reality, but probably have never dealt with the govt. bureaucracy, so they don't realize they are cutting their own throats. The government agencies has devolved into a bunch of cowards who are only interested in themselves and their masters first, and if you are benefitted, well, that's a side effect. The USDA, like the FDA, has been taken over by the "special interests" that are intent on ruining the health and vitality of this country. You know who they are. But of course, you are not allowed to say. It's over. You can't run a planet on GMO foods. And that is what they want. Don't blame WF, though I do wonder about the comment about the CEO and Vilsack being buddies, Vilsack is inherently evil. The dark side specializes in taking over big companies and ignoring the best interests of the people, while claiming otherwise.

Annemarie says …

from the Stonyfield farm site: an opportunity to email Obama http://ota.capwiz.com/ota/issues/alert/?alertid=24747501

Bridget says …

This is an opportunity for those of us that feel like we are slowly losing ground to take a stand. Do something BIG! 1.Stop patronizing Wholefoods 2.If you have a Naturopath, forward this info and get them in turn to mass email all their patients like I did encouraging them to boycott WF. 3. Print flyers, make videos for Youtube etc. We can make a difference but we need to start somewhere. It's a great feeling to stand up to these giants and use the resources at our disposal. We never had these tools till recently, but may lose before long. Talk to anyone that will listen. But, most of all, practice what you preach! Bye, bye, Wholefoods!

C. Fetters says …

When it comes to our health and only two options are available, neither of them in our best interest, the answer is NOT to succumb to the one slightly less dangerous to our health. It is time to fight back....help your patrons join you in an uprising against NO DECENT CHOICE! The choice you have made is very disappointing to those of us that trusted you to stand up for our health no matter what.

Gradstudent says …

First, let me say I'm not a WF worshiper. I can't be, because we don't have any near where I live. Also, while WF can be an amazing place to shop, I prefer to shop locally to support small businesses. Having said that, what I have to say next probably won't be popular with the folks bashing WF. It's not WF fault this stuff hit the fan. Hello? This is the biotech industry's and the government's doing. Biotech has a bunch more lobbying power than the organic sector does, even with WF advocating for organics. WF, and the other large groups of organic farmers like Stonyfield Farm and Horizon are our biggest advocates in Washington, because we consumers are too lazy to get off our collective backsides and organize. There. I said it. Realize that in this fight WF and the others are on our sides. If you're that mad that the USDA and federal gov't. in general has completely disregarded the needs of its citizens when it comes to wanting non-gmo food - and I should think you would be that mad, rightfully so - then take action about it. Learn how to organize and get the peaceful protest marches started, instead of discrediting the organic food movement by tearing down the companies that sell organic.

Barbara Cage says …

Bull. Anything to slow down or stop GE foods is the right thing to do. I will never buy from Whole Foods again.

Michael J says …

If public outcry is an effective deterrent, why was there no effort by WFM to "rally the troops" with an in store marketing campaign requesting and enabling all WF customers with a simple way to voice their oppositition to the appropriate decison makers on this ruling? I shop @ WF every week and never saw one thing concerning this issue. Most people live busy lives and I'm sure the majority of your potentially concerned customers had no idea this decision was in the works. Instead of being asked at the checkout if I found everything I was looking for I should have been asked if I would join the campaign against GMO's. Why haven't all the organic manufactuers and purveyors of organic products joined forces and pooled their resources for a massive mainstream PR blitz? Now is the time to make a continued and concentrated effort to educate everyone about the insanitity of GM foods and the disgusting connection between Monsanto and the USDA. Don't give up the fight...It's not to late!

Sarah says …

I am disgusted and disappointed with your suggestion that we must accept coexistence between GE crops and organic/non-GE crops. Further, I have no faith that WFM is truly committed to fighting GE contamination in the food system, or that WFM will take meaningful action to create clear labels to make consumers aware of whether foods contain GE ingredients. After being a WFM shopper since my childhood, I am now committed to taking my business elsewhere. My family, also huge WFM shoppers, are acting likewise. I am encouraging all my friends to shop elsewhere, and am spreading the word on facebook, as well. Do not think that your actions (or lack thereof) go unnoticed by consumers. Also, don't lie to us and claim that your position has been distorted. Actions speak loudest. With 2/3 of your sales in non-organic, "natural" products, the majority of the food you sell is contaminated with GMOs and lacks the labeling to let us know what we are eating.

Tracy says …

You certainly will have your work cut out for you as the Monsanto "family" is growing by leaps and bounds on Capitol Hill...it is a real shame that our government chooses politics and greed over the health of its nations food supply. I am astounded that a company like Monsanto, and all the horrid creations they have manufactured over the decades is still in business. I am even more astonished by the GROWING number of Monsanto thugs that are be given Federal positions by this President! HOw ironic that the First Lady's mission is to "fight obesity" and plants an organic garden at the White House, all the while her husband gives Monsanto more and more power enabling them to carry-out their agenda. This should be intolerable and Whole Foods should not be settling for compromise...it is time for the citizens and businesses to start pushing back and expose Washington for what it really is and who exactly the politicians truly serve.

Melanie says …

I am surprised to see so much surprise on this topic. If everyone had been so up in arms about this and many other topics to begin with, we may not be in this situation. What ever happened to a government that serves the will of its people? The majority of citizens in this country are so busy being occupied and distracted with other BS that they have forgotten this very important foundation of our country. So don't be surprised when the govt and big corporations give you only two undesirable choices or no choice at all. If we were on our toes as a responsible society of people who give a hoot about more than what Apple puts out as a new toy, then our government would not be giving us undesirable choices. It would be following the will of the people. But if people don't care, then they'll do what they want, unregulated. We have only ourselves to blame because the sad truth is that the majority of irresponsible sheeple in this country have no idea what is going on, nor do they care as long as they are comfortable. And for this, those of us who do care will continue to have to live with the choices made for us by the government that has taken the power away from its purposefully lost little sheep. Protect your choices. Shop local. Know your food. Do not support those who support or accept GMO's. Do not support those who have caved. Its the only way. If everyone did nothing to support Monsanto and other GMO producers and supporters, they will not survive. But it will take a lot of committed people making purposeful changes in their lives. If there is no demand, there is no supply to supply. You still have choices, make the right choices now and you may be around to see some real change.

Mike S says …

Negotiate, fight, weak stance? With the USDA? Stop selling GMO foods? How do you recommend they do that? They, like you, don't even know which foods contain GMO's. Whole Foods is only 300'ish stores which carry different products across the country from different manufacturers and distributors. Get it, local? Sure, some stuff is at all the stores, but not everything. They are not the giant like Walmart, nor do they invest millions/billions into Washington lobby groups like Monsanto or Dupont. Instead of cutting off the head of the middleman, why don't we look at your President and your elected officials? What are you doing to make a change? Shopping at a local Farmer's Market is great! But maybe you live someplace warmer than I do... the Northeast. If not Whole Foods or a local Farmer's Markets, then where? Walmart? Do you think Trader Joe's is better at labeling? Shaw's? Albertson's? Publix? If so, you are missing the point. Whole Foods has done more to protect our food supply than all of the other giant food retailers combined. Whole Foods has been working against GMO's for years, where have you been? Americans wanted cheap food and somebody made it, you or your neighbor has been buying it and now we are all dealing with the repercussions. I want organic food to stay pure and I am for the little guy, but I'm not blaming Whole Foods for the mess we are in now. Wake up and smell the herbicide! Call your elected officials! Demand change in Congress. Demand change at the USDA and the FDA! Tell Washington to pass regulation on GMO crops and a GMO label law and we will all make our own decisions. Oh, and some of you really need to do some homework, some of these posts are hilariously stupid.

jeff says …

Very disappointed in the USDA, and to some level Whole Foods. As citizens we only get to vote for politicians every few years, but we can vote daily with our buying decisions. Whole foods, and stores like it have a voice (though not as strong as the evil empire Monsanto), I would have hoped you pushed for labeling. This would allow consumers to use our buying power to help send the message that this is not ok. Whole foods, please keep pushing for the labeling, it's our only option at this point.

Swanny500 says …

Very disappointing. I just shopped at Whole Foods today and will switch back to PCC in Seattle. I felt that the higher prices at Whole Foods was worth it as they were concerned about the ingredients of their products. But not any more.

student says …

thank you. It was very sad to see the USDA fail to be an advocate for citizens.

Audra says …

I am so glad for your continued committement to whole food and making our world better. I wish we had a petition we could sign to tell the government to protect these crops!!!

destroying your childrens future says …

do you realize if you moderate this info you are supporting the destruction of the purity of your children's food supply.

Keith says …

sellouts! we are watching you

Chef Debbi says …

Even though a total ban was not an option, you still should have stood behind your no-gmo policy. How can you state that you will continue to fight for 'the protection of non-gmo foods' when you couldn't fight for it with this new policy whether or not it was not an option. A cop out if you ask me. I won't support WFM after this, sorry.

alexc says …

The ruling is disappointing. The most concerning issue is we don't know what this will do to future generations.

Jessica says …

It was so sad to not only hear the USDA's decision, but to see other organizations attack Whole Foods, Organic Valley and Stoneyfield Farms. It seemsa like now would be the worst time to become divided on such an issue. I have never seen anything at a Whole Foods store or publication that ever made me think they were not concerned about healthy living, which is at the heart of this issue, along with the economy of organic farmers nationwide. I will continue to support Whole Foods and these other companies, and although I feel it is partly their responsibility to protect our right to buy non-gmo foods, it is mainly the citizens job. We, the consumers, have failed.

Jennifer says …

What happened to the 137 comments posted earlier on this subject?

paig292 says …

@Jennifer This is a new post with new comments. Maybe you are referring to the post from 1/21 on this same topic -- all of the comments are still on that one.

kathleen says …

We won't be shopping here anymore until we see major changes in your stand with GMO organizations. We have only one choice...to take a stand for our children's future.

Arlene Morgan says …

As long as this is true I will continue to buy from Whole Foods. I love to shop there and buy, especially, their 365 brand products. That is all that is in my cupboard and fridge/freezer. It's the best way I know how to stay healthy and take care of my temple (my body)... With no insurance and all that is very important... I trust that you guys will keep up the good work and provide good wholesome products and great customer service... When is the new store coming to Winchester, VA? :-)

Tiffany says …

I would have liked to see Whole Foods push for an outright ban on GE alfalfa, even if the USDA said they were not considering it. Why not use your influence to pressure them to consider it? Isn't that how negotiations work: you ask for more than you want knowing that you'll have to compromise and meet somewhere in the middle? This is a sad and scary day for organic foods in the United States.

Debbie says …

I am deeply saddened that we live in a country with a motto of "In God We Trust" and we the people have allowed ourselves to be turned into sheeple and have put our trust in politicians who have sold God's bounty down the river to the devil's Frankenfoods. I do not and will not buy anything that is not certified organic. And do not be deceived by the words "natural" on a product that contains soy, corn canola, sugar beets, wheat as chances are they are from GMO sources. There should be laws for those who commit crimes against humanity but who would make those laws since our law makers are the ones committing the crimes.

Kerry says …

Nope. Not going to happen anymore WF. My business is taken elsewhere.

M.B. McMorran says …

Whole fools, You caved, pure and simple. You will never get another dollar from me; I promise. GMO can co-exist with organic? What a crock. You're history in my book. Sleep well, and terminally. Same for Organic Valley. P.U.! -Blair

Alison says …

Wholefoods... your decision confuses and dismays me so. Even if you felt that hope was lost for an outright GMO ban in Washington, out of principle you could have done nothing. But you instead decided to ENDORSE coexistance. On such a critical issue why would you take a step in the wrong direction just to take a step?

Holly says …

Whole Foods, almost all of your prepared foods contain canola oil. When I've asked employees about whether or not it's non-GMO, they don't know. One employee showed me the bottle which said nothing about being organic or non-GMO. I would think there would be signs or distinctions made to publicly declare your prepared foods do not contain GMO canola.

Vanessa says …

Whole Foods has supported cutting a deal for "coexistence" with Monsanto, but this means allowing contamination, this means allowing organic to no longer mean organic (if it still does). When this deregulation occurs Monsanto's genetically engineered, herbicide-resistant alfalfa, it is guaranteed to spread its mutant genes and seeds across the nation; guaranteed to contaminate the alfalfa fed to organic animals; guaranteed to lead to massive poisoning of farm workers and destruction of the essential soil. And Whole Foods is not fighting the fight that supports the health and well being of the nation, they are making deals!

Rosalie Bate says …

I have become aware of the 365 label used in frozen vegetables grown in China. How can you be sure they are organic?

Jacqueline says …

A letter to Whole Foods Market: Dear Whole Foods, I read your article entitled "Urgent Action Needed to Support Organics and Non-GE Crops" and subsequently the one on this page. I'm one of the people who question why you're endorsing the coexistence option. I don't think that other consumer groups have misunderstood you as you believe. I think they understand you and all other so called organic organizations who support coexistence all too well. I’m not even sure where to begin or which article to refer to. Since they're both very similar and state the same issues how about a comment on your statement “We supported a path of coexistence, not because it’s a perfect path, but because it’s the only viable path that would ensure our ongoing ability to provide non-GMO foods” Really? The only viable path? How about YOUR only viable path. Those of us who are willing to go further than Whole Foods can find other paths that don’t require throwing in the towel like Whole Foods has done. “We did not believe that a complete ban of GE alfalfa or any crop is an option that the USDA would even consider supporting, nor was it even an option” Of course the USDA wouldn’t consider the option of a complete ban, it doesn’t make them any money. But it is an option YOU should have considered, whether you're at the table or not. Here’s another nugget I’d like to address: “Our options were to have a seat at the table (and support coexistence) or to not be represented at all” Says who?! Since when do Americans not have an option to be represented? Throughout history protesters have rarely had “a seat at the table”. So they created their own table. Out on the streets, having their voices heard by the masses. And Finally: “This does not mean that we have anything to do with big biotech or that we support their agenda” But you don’t realize that that’s exactly what it means. You’re willing to give in just to have a seat at THEIR table. In closing, I’m just floored that after your decision to support “the USDA’s historic approach considering deregulation with conditions” (as you state in your original article) you had the nerve to entitle that article “Urgent Action Needed to Support Organics and Non-GE Crops”, boasting your integrity and stating how angry you are and how fervently you believe “farmers have a right to grow foods without fear of contamination from others’ GE crops”. You should have just done the decent thing: bowed your heads in shame, called the article “We Give In…” and stated your reasons for giving in at the beginning of the article and be done with it. Not save your reasoning for several paragraphs into the article and then have the audacity to ask your loyal customers (did you ask or demand with exclamation points?) to contact our government and tell them that “True COEXISTENCE is a must”. Thank you, but no, thank you. I will not be pressured into coexisting with a monster company like Monsanto or its likeness. When I saw Whole Foods Markets cropping up everywhere, with larger and larger stores I was excited. I thought, finally! more natural and organic foods that are close by and in bigger quantities and selections! But it wasn’t lost on me that getting “bigger” for a company with integrity, like Whole Foods, can be a dangerous thing. Are they going to get so big that they go the way all other companies do when they expand? Are they going to eventually give in to the pressure of Big Pharma, Big Bio and Big Agro? Well, I guess it did happen. Only sooner than I would have expected. Shame on you, Whole Foods and all the other organic organizations who've given in. I guess "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" will be your new mantra. Or should I say, "If you can't beat 'em, regulate them POORLY so that inevitably they'll contaminate all organics seeds, just as they planned". Signed, A Once Loyal Customer

Don't Stock IT! says …

Dear Whole Foods, Prove that you DO NOT Support GMO Foods! Don't Label it in your store! JUST Don't SELL IT! As your Customers...... We Pay you to give us Healthy Products........ WE Insist that you do not carry any food products that have any traces of GMO. You really want to fight GMO stop buying it, and selling it to us..... Label or no Label! And you could have Fought, but instead you capitulated to the share holders and bottom line! you forget that we the people have the power, if we don't buy....you don't exist. Lets see if you post this on your board! Disappointed, and betrayed!

Alyssa DeRonne says …

YOU STILL COULD SELL LOCAL ORGANIC IF YOUR CORPORATION WASN'T SO MONEY HUNGRY. I AM EXTREMELY DISAPPOINTED IN WHOLE FOODS.

deborah cady says …

I note in your Board of Directors mission, and in your store mission, there is no statement dedicating to upholding standards for organic produce, nor to transparency in labeling. However, your advertisements and articles lead one to believe that you do care greatly about organic quality and availability. You realize that without requirements for GMO planting, all agricultural land will eventually become polluted with GMO material because of drift. I find that your most recent decision to consciously not fight for a favorable USDA outcome and to throw in with Monsanto simply cannot be justified. Your words are empty. Already I've approached a small health food shop to develop a greater store capacity for organic produce. In the meantime, they are quite happy to special order items I formerly bought at WFM. They were happy to hear Whole Foods had acquiesced to the easier road.

Julene Allen says …

I read the article in the Huffington Post how WF has surrendered to Monsanto Corp and will allow GMO foods to be sold in its stores. Until GMO foods are clearly labeled they have no business whatsoever being sold in a WF store. It's one thing for Safeway to bow to the devil that is Monsanto, but for WF to do it is the height of hypocrisy. You are no different than Monsanto. You care far more about profits than about the health of your patrons or the planet. Until you stop selling GMO foods in your store or until they are clearly labeled I will be boycotting WF. We were counting on you to have the backbone to stand up to them but clearly the consumers will have to take up the fight because you are too greedy or cowardly to do it. I am certain you won't post my comment because it's bad for your image, but trust me: I am getting the word out to everyone I know and you are wrong if you think your customers are going to take this lightly. Shame on you.

Dana says …

This is disgusting, albeit, not surprising from a company who overcharges so much, for their products. Come on, this response to the GE alfalfa is pathetic. Obviously, you really could care less about the issue, and just assume your clientele will overlook or resist boycotting your stores. Your response is so wishy-washy, that I'd bet you already have GMO within your hot food items, heck you already use hydrolyzed vegetable protein and yeast extract in many of these items. HVP and yeast extract are just cover up names for glutamic acid aka MSG. So the HVP is made from non GMO vegetables before it is processed into this chemical? I highly doubt that! Anyway, from your response, the feeling I was left with was a sort of "half-assed" pledge to prohibit GMO. I won't be shopping at WF anymore!

Marc says …

I'm sure that WF has already engaged a crisis-management PR firm to create a media and response strategy for this, but I'll add some advice to the mix. This is a transformational and statement-making opportunity for WF. Using this crisis to create a new policy embracing complete and utter transparency would send a universally powerful signal to all of the stakeholders in this debate. For example, you should publish the names of the independent third party certifiers hired in China, Vietnam and other markets (especially those that have perceived reputation issues like China) used to verify your USDA Organic claims. QAI should also be encouraged to maintain a publicly available database of these since they are allowing you to use their label on your foods and are thus liable for any findings otherwise by the FTC or other watchdogs regarding green marketing claims, let alone organic certification claims. I would recommend doing this BEFORE a court order or subpoena for the same info due to some class-action lawsuit "on behalf of customers that were mislead" that is bound to be started by an opportunistic law firm. This kind of information is not truly strategic or competitive and the upside of revealing your network of third party auditors would outweigh any potential loss of proprietary trade secrets. This goes a long way to also preventing similar stories to emerge like the WJLA piece (i.e. hopefully 60 Minutes doesn't decide to do a story). This of course would apply to local providers as well. Finally, regarding the "we didn't have a choice" position adopted so far... yeah, not such a good PR strategy. You need to approach this from a position of openness, transparency, empathy and strength, not a weak position of victimization. It doesn't encourage confidence in your loyal customers, let alone passionate non-GMO advocates. They are looking for you to lead, not follow. Re-stating your long history of pioneering and supporting organic is not going to cut it, you need to show a willingness to use your purchasing power to demand integrity to your brand values on behalf of your customers.

Bernadette Clark says …

Thank you for being a champion of non-GMO food sources. I believe this type of food is unsustainable and will fail in the future. It will fail nutritionally and continue to ravage the land, due to the irresponsible use of pesticides. I believe that all labels should have complete transparency as to how the food has been grown. This is the only fair way the consumer can make an educated choice for themselves and their family

C&M says …

I am with Vanessa "Whole Foods has supported cutting a deal for “coexistence” with Monsanto, but this means allowing contamination, this means allowing organic to no longer mean organic (if it still does)." How can we believe in organic food and you, when you arent fighting for it... Because your CEOs are friends with their CEO... thats crap. I am ashamed in you and you should be ashamed of yourself. You, as a company, pride yourself on being the leader in natural and organic food, yet you bow down to these people as if you had some hidden agenda. I WAS proud of you and what you ad done for the food industry. But not this. Not in a million years. You are saying it is okay to contaminate our ground, our water, our plants, and essentially me! And THAT, I am not okay with.

paig292 says …

If you've read the recent letter from the OCA we highly encourage you <a href="http://www.nongmoproject.org/2011/01/29/team-organic-will-never-surrender-to-monsanto-now-we-continue-the-fight-together/" rel="nofollow">to read this as well. It's a wonderful response </a>to the USDA's decision to deregulate GE alfalfa from the Executive Director of The Non-GMO Project, a non-profit multi-stakeholder collaboration committed to preserving and building sources of non-GMO products, educating consumers, and providing verified non-GMO choices.

Jeff says …

The whole idea of "essentially" chemical companies now parading as food companies is repulsive. Whole Foods Markets needs to wake up to the fact that the only thing that sets you apart is a philosophy and dedication to the idea that "Organic" is the only sustainable way this Earth will survive. Vast amounts of good fertile land has been destroyed because of so called "conventional" farming. Co-existence with GMO's is ridiculous. They will destroy your business model and your customer base. Ultimately, GMO's and their defenders will destroy us, our children and finally this planet. There will be no way to reverse the damage. RIP organic food.

Ann says …

You continue to prove your real motives. I will do everything in my power to make sure that I never shop with you again. and I will encourage everyone I know to do the same. get a spine

debbie lewis says …

I am so dissappointed in Whole Foods. I will try to find other stores. Can no one stand up to the USDA. GE foods will take over, and the small organic farms will be gone. The USDA hasn't protected the citizens of this country for many, many years. As to the comment below about Obamas USDA--why don't you research this. Started under Reagan--a merry go round with the agency, and the what the agency regulates. Try looking at the drug companies and the lobbyists. Now it's happening in agriculture. Try thinking for yourself.

Manu Hipkins says …

I appreciate the reassurance. However some questions remain unanswered for me and my clients. Does whole foods use GMO ingredients in their deli and bakery? I have asked different bakers and deli staff about this and they do not know. They even showed me the packaging and the canola oil and sugar did not say organic on the label. I find that very surprising an unsettling. Our consequence from Well Kiddos at this time is to advise our clients not to purchase Whole foods items that do not specifically label ingredients on the GMO list as organic. A clarification of your ingredient policy is much needed. Thank you for your attention to this important matter. Manu Hipkins, Founder, President Well Kiddos

Bob H says …

Thanks for helping gm products to flourish in your stores. Lets hope people really start looking into how bad your "natural brand" label really is and ban your store. You are in this for the money, that is obvious, but don't try to say you are fighting for organics when only 10% of your store is organic, you are not much better than walmart! It is nice to see your company not do well in portland because we are too informed and have better choices than your store. Have fun with monsanto.

Jennifer S. says …

People really need to educate themselves on the real issue here and not blame Whole foods for the worlds problems....Maybe it's because they are a Corporation people just love to hate them?? If your really concerned with how you spend your money, you wouldn't be shopping really anywhere. For example, Trader Joe's has one of the worst meat standards of all of them and Whole foods has just set some of the most strict regulations on their meat and seafood of anyone in the industry. I know this is off the issue but the point is...I think it's ridiculous to boycott a company that did what they had to do when as a whole they are probably the best out there.

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