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.

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468 comments

Comments

Beth Redstone says …

Hope you are telling the truth. There's no way to tell anymore. Maybe it's time to put an information person/booth in the store where folks like me (started in the Nat. Food Biz in 1969) can continue to shop. Right now it's you, the co-op and farmers market.

AC says …

You need to stop using Rapeseed/Canola oil in your foods then, if you really ARE non-GMO, among other things I have seen in your stores in the US and UK.

Sandy Weaver says …

Thank you Whole Foods. You supported Prop 37 even when our local Food Coop wouldn't. They were the ones that caved to Monsanto.

Virginia in Georgia says …

Yep, I heard the "talk", figured I better check it out. Um HUM! All nonsense! Thanks for the update and telling it like it is!

SAndy clubb says …

Is it true the kitchen in Whole Foods uses Aluminum pots and non-stick? ( just so you know we can see them in there).

Scilla says …

Thanks for clearing that up Libba. I just read the original story, and even though the claims were alarming, it seemed like largely a speculative rant. I always liked the selection at WF.

homegrown says …

Thanks for clearing this up. I am very familiar with the 365 line and it is one of my favorite that i feel comfortable purchasing. I love the non gmo verified program, but what about your fresh produce??? I've never seen any fruits/vegetables labled "non gmo". How can one tell??? Thanks..

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@HOMEGROWN - The Non-GMO Project currently does not verify fresh produce options. If you want to avoid GMOs in produce, look for organic options as USDA organic guidelines prohibit the use of GMOs in organic products.

debbby says …

how do I respond to a friend who INSISTS that whole foods is owned by monsanto??? aaaarrrrgh!!

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@DEBBY - You can always let them know that we are labeling GMOs in our stores by 2018. There is tons of info at http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/gmo-your-right-know.

Tricia Kameika says …

Well happy to read this rumor is not true. Few people in the business of alternative health told me about acquisition and I was startled

Kevin Shayne says …

You disguest me.

Shana Gregory says …

There will be no more "regularly scheduled shopping" for me at Whole Foods. They say here that they are "in support farmers' rights to grow NON-Gmo crops. That is a very scary statement to me. Just take a minute to understand that means. I am reading that the right to grow Non-Gmo crops needs defending! Maybe next year feelings will change and this support of growing NON-Gmo's may no longer be there. I am outraged! My loyalty to Whole Foods has been misplaced and no longer exists. Let us all look for another place to put our money and get healthy food.

Connie+ says …

It seems that all these denials of Whole Foods being in bed with Monsanto are coming true. Whole Foods has agreed to co-exist with GMO foods. Whole Foods is just another (albeit expensive) large chain grocer concerned only with their own wealth and not their customer's or the planet's health. Darn, I so loved (past tense) shopping at Whole Foods, but will be boycotting instead.

Russ says …

I have wanted to know for a long time why most of the prepared foods at Wholefoods Market have Canola Oil in them when the oil is so toxic and harmful. Because Monsanto is so big a powerful and pushes their Canola seeds everywhere they can I figured they either are part owners of Wholefoods or somehow are pressuring Wholefoods to use Canola Oil. That's how I found this page and I also read that the top 5 share holders of Monsanto are also the top 5 share holders of Wholefoods. Meaning they have a lot of Proxies to over power Wholefoods anytime they decide to. Anyone that has been following Rape seed/"LEAR" Oil (Low Erucic Acid, Rape)/ Canola Oil should know that Canola Oil still has erucic acid in it which under some circumstances is associated with fibrotic heart lesions. Rape seed was used to make Mustard gas and Canola Oil still caries the mutated genes no matter what kind of "processing" the food "product" is put through. An unapproved gene slipped into a batch by mistake causing a recall of 60,000 seed bags by Monsanto. Canola oil contains large amounts of "isothiocyanates" - cyanide-containing compounds. Cyanide inhibits mitochondrial production of! adenosine triphosphate(ATP), which is the energy molecule that fuels the mitochondria. ATP energy powers the body and keeps us healthy and young. Canola oil is also high in glycosides that cause serious problems by blocking enzyme function. Acetylcholine is critical to nerve-impulse transmission. When acetylcholinesterase is inhibited, as by pesticide resi! dues, nerve fibers do not function normally, and muscles do not respond. Toxic substances in canola and soy oils encourage the formation of molecules with covalent bonds which are normally irreversible. When I went to Wholefoods today to get a salad bar and the "Traditional Humus" now shows Canola oil instead of Olive oil which is the breaking point for me. Is there any chance at all of getting some healthy oils back into the prepared foods and baked goods or is it way too late?

Lauren - Community Moderator says …

@Russ We use canola oil in many of our prepared foods recipes because it is very versatile. Canola is fairly heat stable, so it is suitable for all types of cooking and it has a neutral flavor, making it suitable for all kinds of dishes. We use non-GMO canola oil in all of our prepared foods. There appears to be a great deal of confusion concerning the safety of canola oil. At Whole Foods Market, we believe canola oil is a safe and wholesome food and, therefore, will continue to use it in our prepared foods. There are no research studies indicating that canola oil is harmful to humans when consumed as recommended. None of the vast number of number of purported side effects attributed to canola consumption like loss of vision, disruption of central nervous system, and anemia, to name a few examples, have been reported in medical journals.

suzie says …

these comments / blog are from 2012!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Kris Shankar says …

I wish you'd said that Whole Foods is unequivocally in support of labeling foods that contain GMO. You didn't say that. This is very disappointing, I've been a loyal Whole Foods customer for years, and it will pain me to stop purchasing at your stores, Kris Shankar Bellevue, WA

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