Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

GMO/Monsanto Buyout Rumors Untrue

By Libba Letton, February 2, 2012  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Libba Letton

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.

Category: Food Issues, GMOs, Organics




Ashlei says ...
I'm so glad to see WF's standing strong against GMOs!
02/02/2012 7:07:07 AM CST
TW says ...
Thanks Whole Foods! :-)
02/02/2012 8:44:29 AM CST
J Ellis says ...
Thanks for clearing that up!! Glad to know I can still con on WF!
02/02/2012 8:48:16 AM CST
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/
02/02/2012 8:48:49 AM CST
Dave says ...
Sounds good. But I'm uninformed...why are GMO's bad?
02/02/2012 8:51:38 AM CST
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:)
02/02/2012 8:52:23 AM CST
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!
02/02/2012 8:53:45 AM CST
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.
02/02/2012 8:55:37 AM CST
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.
02/02/2012 8:55:39 AM CST
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.
02/02/2012 9:00:58 AM CST
Renaldoo says ...
Just LABEL THE PRODUCTS YOU PRODUCE THAT CONTAIN GMOs. Quit hiding behind all green paint.
02/02/2012 9:07:59 AM CST
Mattie says ...
I read an aricle (I'll try to find it), that said the USDA forced Whole Foods to sell GMO products. Is there any Truth to this? How can we put Monsanto out of business?
02/02/2012 9:08:33 AM CST
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.
02/02/2012 9:13:44 AM CST
janejohnson says ...
@Mattie This rumor is untrue. The USDA cannot force us to sell any product, including those with GMOs.
02/02/2012 9:14:58 AM CST
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!!
02/02/2012 9:20:56 AM CST
renaldoo says ...
@ Jane Johnson They can't force you to sell AND produce GMO products, YOU ELECT TO!
02/02/2012 9:22:58 AM CST
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.
02/02/2012 9:25:35 AM CST
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!!
02/02/2012 9:26:45 AM CST
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.
02/02/2012 9:27:13 AM CST
Todd says ...
I simply love Whole Foods stores. The best bang for the buck on Organic and Natural Products. I drive over 45 miles to shop there. Unfortunately there are Brands with GMO ingrediants readily sold at Whole Foods. If a product contains Soy or Corn and its not labeled Organic you can almost assure you are buying a product with GMO's (very few exceptions here) I reported this to my local store about at least one brand that has been tested for GMO's and they said they would check into it but never did anything about it. Buying Organic is almost the only reasonable way I know of to avoid GMO's.
02/02/2012 9:28:56 AM CST
Beccabluegurl says ...
Thanks for clarifying WFs efforts. I agree with Myrtle, however, the point is that you do sell a lot of products with GMO ingredients. Is there a plan to stop doing so altogether? That would certainly be the ideal and go a long way to putting Monsanto out of business. :)
02/02/2012 9:33:34 AM CST
Alayna Hanlon says ...
02/02/2012 9:34:03 AM CST
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...
02/02/2012 9:36:02 AM CST
Allie says ...
Every time you buy Organic-non GMO foods you're casting a vote/strengthening our message to put Monsanto out of business!!!!!!!!!!!!
02/02/2012 9:39:28 AM CST
sarah says ...
the problem is that it is NOT a law to label products using GMOs and you can thank the FDA for that.
02/02/2012 9:42:03 AM CST