Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

GMO/Monsanto Buyout Rumors Untrue

Stop the insanity! I help with customer inquiries here at Whole Foods Market and we’ve been hearing some wild, off-base stories from folks around the country lately.

For brevity’s sake, I’m going to list them here in hopes of dispelling these rumors.

Rumor No. 1: Whole Foods Market has been bought by Monsanto. No! What crazy talk! We’ve never had any affiliation with that company. We are publicly traded; our majority shareholders are listed in documents filed with the SEC and, I promise, Monsanto is not on the list and never has been.

Rumor No. 2: Whole Foods Market made a secret deal with Monsanto to support the deregulation of GMO crops like alfalfa. Again, no way! This ridiculous rumor started over a year ago in January 2011 because of the Organic Consumer Association’s (OCA) misleading article titled “Whole Foods Caves to Monsanto.”

You see, Whole Foods Market and others in the organic food industry met with the US Secretary of Agriculture in support of farmers’ rights to grow Non-GMO crops

Because we did not take the exact hard-line stance that the OCA did, they accused us of “being in bed with Monsanto,” and the rumor developed from there. Whole Foods Market has no ties to Monsanto and did not have any interaction with the company concerning this or any other issue. For a good description of what really happened, here’s a solid Washington Post story.

You can also read our blog response from last year.

Rumor No. 3: Whole Foods Market recently decided to start selling food with GMOs. Wrong again! As long as GMO crops have been in this country, GMOs have been in the US food supply. The most effective action we can take now is to label the food that DOESN’T include GMOs. That’s why we’ve enrolled our 365 Everyday Value and 365 Organic product line in the Non-GMO Project Verification Program, and have encouraged our branded vendors to do the same – and many, many have.

If you want to avoid GMOs, here’s what to look for in our stores:

  • Organic products, since USDA organic standards prohibit the use of GMO ingredients.
  • Our 365 Everyday Value and 365 Organic store brand food products are sourced to avoid GMO ingredients and many have been verified under the Non-GMO Project verification program. You can find a list of verified products on each of our store web pages.
  • Products labeled with the Non-GMO Project Verified label. For a shopping list of Non-GMO Project Verified products carried by your local store, check your store’s webpage or review brands and products on the Non-GMO project website.

Thanks for reading and now back to your regularly scheduled shopping.

Leave a reply

To provide feedback or ask a question about our company, a store or a product, please visit our Customer Service page.

For more information about posting comments to our blog, please see our Comment Posting Guidelines.

468 comments

Comments

Kate says …

@Maggie, well one surefire way to out Monsanto out of business is to have everybody stop eating. ;). Short of that, we can eat organic, we can invest in converting farmland to organic, we can put pressure on congress to change agribusiness subsidies, and we can put pressure on Bill Gates to stop pushing his new "Green Revolution" in agriculture for underdeveloped countries--which pump millions of aid dollars to companies like Monsanto, Dow, etc. so they can "develop" (colonize) ag. practices there. We can protest the IMF and the World Bank, which do the same sort of thing. Just a few suggestions...

Carole Gay says …

Thank you for sharing this. I love your store and value the foods you make available to us. I shop at Whole Foods in Redmond, Wa. Please don't close that store. There has been a rumor that it will disappear soon/

Dave says …

Sounds good. But I'm uninformed...why are GMO's bad?

Judy says …

Thanks for explaining your truth. I didn't believe the rumors, however I know toxic words can spread as fast as the wind blows.

renaldoo says …

@ Jane Johnson They can't force you to sell AND produce GMO products, YOU ELECT TO!

sarah says …

the problem is that there is NOT a law about listing GMOs in products. and you can thank the FDA for that. god forbid we know whats in our food. we cant know whats in our food or it would put other companies out of business.

sarah says …

the problem is that it is NOT a law to label products using GMOs and you can thank the FDA for that.

Allie says …

Every time you buy Organic-non GMO foods you're casting a vote/strengthening our message to put Monsanto out of business!!!!!!!!!!!!

David Daniels says …

I'm very glad to hear this news. Please keep above board on this issue. Do not let your growing corporate status water down your idealistic and ethical commitments. If you ever support or affiliate with Monsanto, I will be ceasing business with you, both as a stock holder and regular customer. I would encourage friends to follow suit because that's how I feel about Monsanto. A no count manufacturer of poisons that hurt the planet, counterproductive to good food supplies, and hostile to people's health and welfare if they can make money off it.

Alayna Hanlon says …

reposting!!!

Bryan Sammis says …

I'm happy WholeFoods hasn't caved to "The Man"!!

elie shupak says …

Ok- I would like to point out that your 365 product line has flaws, for instance you call it an organic line yet I have found that your shampoos and conditioners have harmful ingredients in them if something is truely natural and organic you would make sure that whoever is producing them would make sure that they are made without these ingredients. Also The company of whole foods may or may not have sold out to monsanto by allowing monsanto access to its farms- just because you post something on here doesnt make it true. What is true is that There are things going on within the USDA, FDA, and so on that are shaping up to be something serious. If you want to do something look into codex alimentarius, look into the flaws of the products you sell and realize that just cause something says organic doesnt mean it is.

BotNProud says …

With the prevalence of GM crops increasing, the concern now becomes the cross pollination of non-GM crops with pollen from GM crops. There is no real way to keep it from happening. Over time, the possibility of GM crop genes expressed in supposed non-GM crops will become impossible to avoid. The BT crops disturb me the most - it effects ALL pollinators, not just the "bad" worms that eat the GM-BT plants. BT is NOT specific and will kill the worms and caterpillars of all species that consume those plants. And the pollen from those plants that ALSO carries the BT genes? What happens when the bees carry that pollen back to their hives and feed it to their larvae? Isn't anyone at Monsanto thinking or realizing the potential crisis they are creating? I doubt it...and I don't think they really care. Stay tough Whole Foods - it's gonna take a very large village to stop this insanity!

Shan Willoughby says …

Oh thank goodness! I had to field so many "look what your precious Whole Foods has done!" questions yesterday. Now, I can help spread the word that it's not true. Thanks for the post!!

Chris says …

Very well put. Thank you for the clear info, Libba!

Dee says …

People should be upset with the government not forcing the food industry to label our food with/ with out GMO not WHOLE FOODS!

Bobbi says …

What about 365 products from China? GMO? Organic? Can u give the low down on this?? A lot of rumors on this too! Thanks!!

says …

@Bobbie Thank you for reaching out. If you have specific questions we would be more than happy to talk with you about those issues. Please reach out to our Customer Service line with these questions and our Team Members will respond as soon as possible. Their contact information is below. http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/company/service.php

says …

@Mattie This rumor is untrue. The USDA cannot force us to sell any product, including those with GMOs.

Liz Ciulla says …

Thank you for clarifying. It is a shame that so many in this country take advantage of EVERY opportunity to point the finger at someone else in the hopes of destroying their credibility and raising their own status. Goes back to divide and conquer used by so many political strategies. Keep up the good work of helping strengthen people with the positive outlooks.

Myrtle says …

Regarding #3 - It is true, however, that WFM DOES sell food with GMO's. Aside from products labelled organic or WFM brand, any food in the store could contain GMO ingredients. I think this is an important distinction to make.

Alexis E. GirlRural.com says …

I appreciate Whole Foods writing this post to dispel rumors. I've always trusted Whole Foods for our family's needs and continue to do so.

melanie says …

I have read this from naturalnews.com, via the "health ranger". I am intelligent enough to know that he does manipulate stories. It seems that he wants to scare people by distorting the facts. It is too bad because many people believe what he writes as truth.

Ashlei says …

I'm so glad to see WF's standing strong against GMOs!

TW says …

Thanks Whole Foods! :-)

J Ellis says …

Thanks for clearing that up!! Glad to know I can still con on WF!

lynda says …

I love this post! I will point everyone who repeats some weird version of the TOTALLY erroneous and misleading OCA rant over here. It's great all that WFM and its team members and it's customers have done to create a more sustainable world and very sad and frustrating that there seem to be intentional and incorrect slanders from 'non-profits' who make nothing (but false claims)! Criticize by creating OCA and the world will be better for everyone. Don't dump on the good guys--for the moment there's enough of the bad guys still in business:)

jay says …

what about the labeling on the "organic" asparagus, in the frozen section that has certified organic on it, with the made in china label on it, and the other label telling us it was certified by an outside company? there was a news story and they called your outside company and they said they cant certify products from china. Did you just stop putting made in china on the other vegetables, or did you stop sourcing from china on the other 365 labeled products?

says …

@Jay Currently the only item we source organically from China are the 365 Organic Edamame. However, since we love to offer options, we also provide our customers with American sourced organic edamame, as well.

Glinda says …

The fact is that almost all foods grown by seed now have GMOs in them because of cross-pollination. It's now become extremely hard to avoid. Organic farmers are trying hard to avoid it, but I bet even they can no longer guarantee that every single seed they plant is not contaminated with GMOs.

Renaldoo says …

Just LABEL THE PRODUCTS YOU PRODUCE THAT CONTAIN GMOs. Quit hiding behind all green paint.

Snehal says …

Hi, My question is why does Whole Foods even carry stuff with GMO products? Why can't it ban from being sold in Whole Foods? Just stop selling the GMO products and declare Whole foods as a NON-GMO Health Food Store. Thanks, Snehal

paig292 says …

@Snehal and others That's a fair question, but it's not a simple proposition. People are surprised when they learn the pervasiveness of GMOs throughout the US food supply. In 2010, 86% of corn, 93% of soy, 90% of canola, and 95% of sugar beet crops grown in the US were genetically modified. The Grocery Manufacturers Association estimates that GMOs are now present in 75 to 80% of non-organic processed food sold in the US. At Whole Foods Market, once you combine the organic products, our 365 Everyday Value branded products and the Non-GMO Project Verified products, we sell more Non-GMO items than most other grocery stores.

Suzanne Tugman says …

I reside in Idaho and had not heard the rumor mill about Monsanto and Whole Foods so I read your response with great interest. As a former employee of Wild Oats I had the occasion to meet with the future reps of Whole Foods (during the transition) and was blown away by WF’s commitment to widen their existing vision for global sustainability. Of course this vision would incur various challenges along the way as there is great work to be done not only in educating ourselves but in the implementation of sustainable farming practices on a global scale. It is interesting that the farmers in the United States have often been attacked for being behind in this transition but Whole Foods is making huge strides on the global scale which seems to be loosening Monsanto’s strangle hold over some US farmers. We have come a long way over the past 30 years to try and educate the consumer and restore healthy farming practices. Back then, buying organic foods labeled the consumer as being a part of a “hippy cult” because this type of food quality reflected a growing defiance against the mounting threat to our food supply. That was a different world back then and though the organic food industry has experienced growing pains it has maintained focus and expanded into concepts that I find brilliant and inspirational. In a world where suspicion for large companies is now the norm it is imperative for vital companies like Whole Foods to lead the way towards transparent business to rebuild the trust that was lost. Additionally, we the consumers should develop a keen eye to assist in directing the global change while maintaining vigilance over our growing pessimism so to allow room for possibility. I was in Colorado this past week and visited the WF store in Golden on a daily basis and found several items that were clearly labeled non GMO as well as organic which alludes to the same protection. Great job everyone!

Pooch says …

You guys are just covering your asses. We know your real agenda.

Natanya Anderson - Community Manager says …

The only 365 frozen vegetables from China are edamame and we say so right on the package. Because we want to offer our customers choices, we also have frozen edamame that's grown in North America.

ddressler says …

another big concern is the frozen vegetable coming from China labeled under Whole Foods brand why would you use China as a distributor for your veggies? why would anyone want to eat veggies coming from China? or anywhere that far away? but especially China who has no regulations and even their own people are finally up in arms, over their biggest baby food company and sick babies due to no regulations. please STOP BUYING VEGGIES FROM CHINA unless its an exotic only found in China, type food, we have our own farmers right here

Susheila Utterback says …

If you're publicly traded then you wouldn't be able to stop Monsanto from purchasing shares right? Good to know they aren't a majority stockholder anyway!

Christine Frisbee says …

We do hear that these things are happening, yet, we depend upon WholeFoods to be an honest resource for us. Make us that promise, please! We love your stores!

Ben says …

That's very good to hear.

Mark says …

Next you'll be telling us that the US Government wasn't responsible for 9/11, or that aliens from outer space don't control the Federal Reserve.... Idiots start rumors, and fools who own computers can't even do basic research to verify or refute them. WF is an excellent, well-run, customer and employee friendly company. It's sad that jerks try to smear its rep, and "journalists" slant and sensationalize "news".

Jeb says …

USDA Organic products are allowed to contain something like 5% gmo. GMO's are slipped into many things. Watch your soy products like lecithin. Will someone please do something about monsanto. They are destroying the earth and us along with it.

Tracey Shanklin says …

Thanks for sharing this! You're right... there's alot of public misconception about GMO and any rumored relationship with Monsanto. I teach our Day 1 classes and this topic always comes up. Thanks so much for sharing the info!

Anne says …

So, if I buy a product with a certain amount of fat or sugar in it, I can read that on the label and make an informed consumer choice. But I don't have the right to see on the label that the genes from another species were artificially inserted in a laboratory to create the transgenic corn product in my child's cereal?

Zach says …

"Renaldoo: Just LABEL THE PRODUCTS YOU PRODUCE THAT CONTAIN GMOs. Quit hiding behind all green paint." This is stupid and you know it. What else do you want them to do, replace "conventional" signs on produce with a big skull and crossbones "PRODUCED WITH PESTICIDE" sign? Buy organic. If you don't want to do the research yourself, just buy organic only. It's that simple.

Sarah says …

Do some of these people even shop in a Whole Foods Market store or bother to read the other information on this website that started this whole thing? Do a little more research to find the real truth about all the good things Whole Foods does to improve our food system including establishing the highest body care standards in the industry, animal welfare rating standards and their local producer loan program to name a few. Pick on the other grocery chains that don't do anything close to what Whole Foods does for their communities and the world at large.

Carolyn Roberts says …

Oh, thank you for dispelling this rapidly spreading rumor. Will definitively post this on FB :)

Derrick says …

Your customers are woefully ignorant to the fact that your stores contain GMOs! Providing an online list is not enough. You say you believe in co-existance of GMO's, there is no such thing! GMOs take over traditional crops! As a large corporation in the health foods industry you should be leading the front for the labeling fight. There is currently 3 different bills in congress to help with GMO front. Please push for this, and educate your customers!! I know personally in Houston there is nothing in your stores that tells the customers that GMOs are in the store. And most of the employees are under the false impression that GMOS are not in your stores, and they are passing this ignorance on to your customers.

Monica says …

How is wholefood GMO free if sells plenty of Seedless grapes, watermelons and oranges. Which are proven to have been chemically engineered?

John says …

Is it true that "Millions Against Monsanto" is behind the false rumors? That what is said in this post on The Daily Paul. http://www.dailypaul.com/178036/millions-against-monsanto-campaign-funded-by-rockefeller-and-merck

Pages