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

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@JESSICA - We announced GMO labeling 3 months ago as we believe our customers have the right to know what's in their food. We want to keep everyone informed on our progress to meet our GMO labeling deadline, so you can read our most recent update at http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/blog/three-month-update-gmo-labeling.

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@LINDA - We do have non-GMO signs posted throughout our stores that will help you until our deadline of GMO labeling by 2018. We also have store specific lists of the non-GMO products they sell. You can find your local store's list on their website: http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/stores/list.

Liz Morton says …

Go "LIBBA LETTON"---The "TRUTH SHALL SET US FREE!" Mahalo Nui (Much Thanks) 4 the "WFM--TRUTH--SIDE of STORY! Greatly Appreciate U Libba--Have a "GREAT FUN PRODUCTIVE ("WFM") DAY!" I will, "NOW" that I "KNOW ("WFM") TRUTH" on "Monsanto (GMO) Stance! Success B Yours Always! Aloha no, Liz Morton (Stakeholder/Future Crew Member (Waiting 2 B "Called" 4 My "3rd Interview & Orientation Set Up Scheduling") @ "WFM-Kailua" in "Kailua (Oahu) Hawaii

Sherie says …

Thank goodness...now please open a store in Rancho Cucamonga!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Marion Spicher says …

Keep up the pressure to bring healthy foods to us all!

Lisa says …

Unfortunately I and many were under the impression that no GMO's were sold at Whole foods. But now I'm learning otherwise is this true? And is it impossible for a big chain to survive only selling organic?

Ellen says …

Can you put to rest the accusation against Whole Foods that 50% of your corn in your 365 Corn Flakes is GMO-derived? Thanks.

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@ELLEN - That article is a few years old as well. Since that article surfaced, we only sell organic 365 Cornflakes now, which do not contain GMOs.

David Tribble says …

Thumbs up to your quick FB response.

Cheryl says …

Thanks for your loyalty to us in bringing us healthy food.

Mariangela says …

Thanks for debunking these rumors. I work from home so most of my meals are cooked fresh from home. I love Whole Foods and only shop there for my foods. I only want to consume the highest quality food I can possibly get my hands on and I thank Whole Foods for protecting that.

Amy says …

While Whole Foods is still my favorite and only available store except for Trader Joes (which I will not step in), you are still carry products owned by General Mills and others which are HUGE manufacturers of products containing nasty things. I go to your store 3xs a week, and last time, decided to check out a few products, owned by corporate companies who DO use GMO's. I suggest you review your store inventories, and make those changes. This will let me and all of us know you mean business!

Anne Stabile says …

Thanks! So relieved. Feel like a douche, but glad you're not a "monsanto property!"

Alice McCaffrey says …

Just want to thank you... My cabinets are stocked up with your 365 brand. I'm very happy with the quality..Proud to say there are no GMOs in my house....I just read the list of new stores and didn't see the West Palm Beach new store listed. Are you still planing to open one here? Hat the drive to Wellington....

Mike Ramsey says …

Because of the mafia-style tactics used, if you are not taking a hard-line stance against the GMO industry, you ARE in bed with them. The lack of a labeling law, in combination with Monsanto's extremely aggressive treatment of farmers, means any crop that has a GMO version is virtually certain to expand to the ENTIRE non-organic market. When that happens, cross-contamination of the organic crops surrounded by a sea of GMO's is guaranteed. At that point, the "certified organic" label becomes meaningless and we may as well all go back to shopping for food at Wal-Mart. Extremely disappointed with Whole Foods capitulation on this issue, even moreso with your denial that's what happened.

Alana Wheeler says …

Awesome! We look to Whole Foods as perhaps the last truly "good" and "pure" American company - if that is even possible in corporate America anymore. Many are very concerned about GE foods. Perhaps Whole Foods should put an article on the website explaining cross-contamination and the new 5 year labeling requirement. Thank you Whole Foods.

Elwanda Iskenderian says …

Please do not post that Trader Joe's, does not care enough for their wholesome food products or their customers. Not all of us can afford to shop at Whole Food's !

Emma Nowakowski says …

Thank you so much Wholefoods... When I heard someone on Facebook mention the affiliation I researched... I'm so happy to know there is no affiliation and I posted your link so others know the real answer :)

Janell says …

Whole Foods has the power to shape the food industry. If Whole Foods demanded labeling NOW (within 18 months) instead of oh, say in "2018" (which gives time to bury the rest of the food supply in GMOs....) then GMOs would be labeled, end of story. Also the Non-GMO Food Project hurts companies who don't use GMOs because it is costly. It particularly hurts small businesses who do no have thousands of dollars to spend on a verification program. If you really want to be the leader you are claiming to be, then demand GMOs be labeled on ALL foods you sell. I hope you agree to post this opinion...

Gay Kingsley says …

I have been hearing these rumors too. Thanks for the info as I am a big Whole Foods shopper!

Tra Holloway Boxer says …

Thank Goodness, the rumor is not true. I was devasted when a friend told me about the connection, yesterday and decided to check it our for myself. Thank you for being on the right side of right and not supporting GMOs of the greedy,

Terri says …

The only way to stop them is for all stores to refuse to sell them.

Tammy Schueler says …

The Whole Truth

Lenik says …

Quote :" 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" ... I would like to know, WHY YOU DID NOT TAKE HARD - LINE STANCE !!! This issue is so dangers, that there should be ONLY hard - line stance ! And as another reader asked ... how much shares Monsanto is holding in your company ??? People needs to see hard and real EVIDENCE and not just likable green talking !

Gerald says …

http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/blog/2011/01/urgent-action-needed-to-support-organics-and-non-ge-crops Why did you delete this blod, Whole Foods? Covering your tracks?

Kasia Guzy says …

How about Cheerios ? I noticed on the WHM shelve shopping this weekend. How did you verify that this popular cereal does not contain GMO? I am sure it does, as well as other harmful ingredients. I find it very sad that this type of product finds it's way to Whole Foods Market.

Bertie Glass. says …

I am so happy to hear that Whole Foods has not given in to this. It is our favorite supplier of our groceries because we believe it is safe. We never go to regular markets anymore.

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@GERALD- We have not deleted anything from our website. This "article" contains various incorrect links and false information. You can still find the blog article at http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/blog/whole-story/usda-disappoints-no-regulations-ge-alfalfa.

Lourdes Alonso says …

This is very firm and clear statement from Wholefood to avoid the bad gossip encouraged by competitors. It is very nice to hear from you the way you do business with real facts and examples. Thanks for reinforcing the steps we should follow for a better life improving our diet.

Rob Westergard says …

I'm so happy to know this. There are tons of rumors floating around Facebook and that it where I saw it and contacted me local store here in NC about it and they directed me to this page. It's sad that our government is trying to push this crap on us..

Faye MacIntyre says …

I am so glad to hear this is not true. I am very thankful to have my whole Foods in tact with zero affiliation with Monsanto. Thanks you

Malcolm says …

Thanks you Thankyou, that is not true .

Ron Paul says …

Well, terrible job by Whole Foods on clearing this up just now. That rumor really did a number on them and they should of defended themselves a long time ago. I haven't shopped there for years because of them. Now if they could only have reasonable prices...

Lisa Bayus says …

Does this statement still hold true from 2012? I just read that Monsanto forced Wholefoods to accept them and their genetically altered seed. I want nothing to do with Monsanto. If the statement is true here and now in October 2013, then you have lost one faithful customer. Please say it isn't so....

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@LISA - The blog post above was written in response to the rumor going around (for over 2 years now) that we have a direct affiliation with Monsanto. It's completely untrue. Due to the pervasiveness of GMOs in the US food supply and no mandatory labeling regulations, there are GMOs in our stores. Since this blog article, we have announced GMO labeling for our stores. We believe consumers have the right to know what's in their food. You can read more detailed info at http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/gmo-your-right-know.

Nicole says …

Then why do you carry GMO foods if you have 'no ties' with Monsanto? I agree with myrtle "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." And if this is true.. RENALDOO SAYS ... @ Jane Johnson They can't force you to sell AND produce GMO products, YOU ELECT TO! WHY DO YOU SELL GMO'S WHOLE FOODS?

Nancy Sallaberry says …

Thank you for this! I've just become a new customer and was horrified to hear this rumor. I'm glad you proved this rumor to be wrong. Thanks again!

amanda says …

Has the USDA made a deal with Monsanto to sell GMO's at Whole Foods? I have heard a lot about them forcing Whole Foods to sell GMO's and I'd like to hear it from you. Please and thanks.

Bridget says …

Thank God!!

ann says …

if you are not affiliated with them, how much money have you contributed to prop 37? I live in Santa Barbara, CA and spend a lot of money shopping at your store. I have serious concerns that if you truly were looking to sell people healthy non gmo non tainted foods you would be spending money to counteract monsanto. I dont see that happening. At the fish counter last week the fish guy about 20, told me farm raised is the same as wild caught the fishies are the same. wild caught salmon dont eat gmo grains and swim in their own filth. Please do go on.

ann says …

and FYI Organic Consumer Association’s (OCA) they ALSO have given no money to the task of labeling food. you are all slaves to monsatan. I see monsanto products in your store everyday. PLEASE. Get a better pr person at least. the hidden camera video where the checkout girl says they are different kind of gmo. Could she really BE that stupid? yes apparently.

Mika Beron says …

If this is a lie, is there a lawsuit being filed? I mean, after all this could stop revenue.

Diane Waxman says …

I have considerable stock in YUM brands, which was bought for my Trust years ago. I am disgusted with them, and plan to sell it after the first of the year, and buy stock in WHOLE FOODS. I SHOP AT THE FAIROAKS VA Whole Foods every week, and I follow a Vegan diet, based on Rip Esselstyn's Engine2 diet, and attended their farm weekend this past summer. Stay clean, stay focussed.... we need you!

Tony says …

Thanks for addressing these rumors. Keep up the fight, we're behind you!

Greg says …

This is just wrong: Rumor No. 3: Whole Foods Market recently decided to start selling food with GMOs. You do sell food that is GMO - any non organic food is GMO. So stop the BS and just admit you're a big store selling GMO food.

Carol says …

Know that if WF succumbs to political pressure of providing GMO foods, that the vibration of its platform as a supporter of healthy options will be compromised and most probably lead to its decline by those of us who choose healthy options on what we put into our bodies.

Annie Harbison says …

Yay, Whole Foods for standing up and rising up above those rumors. Thank you for keeping us all informed and invigorating all of us pro-organic, non-GMO lovers to keep fighting the good fight!

Shaun says …

So this is just BS ???? http://www.whydontyoutrythis.com/2013/06/usda-forces-whole-foods-to-accept-monsanto.html

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@SHAUN - That is the rumor that we are writing about in this blog post. It's totally untrue and for some reason continues to spread online for almost 3 years now. We believe consumers have the right to know what's in their food, which is why we announced GMO labeling for our stores. You can find more info at http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/gmo-your-right-know.

Colette says …

Can you please clarify what OCA's "hardline" stance is, and how yours differs from it? Thank you.

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