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

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@COLETTE - The OCA thought that GMO alfalfa should not be approved altogether and we supported co-existence since we saw that it was going to be deregulated. We wanted protection for organic and non-GMO farmers.

Deborah Brubaker says …

This is not good enough. If I am going to trust you to supply my food you have to clearly be on the side of keeping our food supply healthy and actively lobby congress and the FDA. I have been your customer for twenty five years. I will be buying my food at Vitamin Cottage. Those of us that built up your business can take your business down. You need to ( dance with the one what brung ya.).

Jennifer says …

This is very disturbing to hear that some of WFM's products do in fact contain GMO's, and that WFM is aware of this! Is there anywhere else that confirms what you've written? There are some things on Facebook that really worry me.

MIchelle Frankie says …

why did whole foods pay to oppose prop 37 very well known!!!!!!!

still concerned says …

We are your costumers . we want WHOLE FOODS to label GMOs ..period . we cant fight the big guys with out you show us its not all about the $$$ .. don't cave in on us... judd

James says …

This is what we have seen and you have removed the email you sent to people which was carefully worded to fool consumers. Sorry not buying @ Wholefoods again.

Katy says …

I don't believe you ! No Whole Foods did not get bought by Monsanto but you are letting them have a HUGE influence over your products !

Jamie says …

Is this still the case? I came across this article: http://www.whydontyoutrythis.com/2013/06/usda-forces-whole-foods-to-accept-monsanto.html?m=1

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@JAMIE - The link you posted is the reason why we wrote the blog post above. The link you shared is till untrue. Since this blog post, we have announced GMO labeling for our stores: http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/gmo-your-right-know.

Meagan says …

I am so glad to read this! If you guys cave, then all really is lost! We need you to help us keep up the fight against Monsanto!

Melanie says …

I would like to know where you stand now?

Robert says …

Why does WF need to label GMO products? If it's not marked with the Non-GMO label, you should assume it has GMO'S. Reward the food suppliers who are participating in the project by only vying those foods. That's what I do.

Joel Switzer says …

what do you have to say about this lengthy write-up then? (written AFTER WFM wrote the statements above....) http://www.whydontyoutrythis.com/2013/06/usda-forces-whole-foods-to-accept-monsanto.html

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@MELANIE - We believe you have the right to know what's in your food, which is why we have announced GMO labeling for our stores. This way our customers can make an informed shopping decision in our stores based on their personal belief about GMOs. You can read more at http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/gmo-your-right-know.

michaelPaul says …

Thank God..i hope this is totally accurate WHOLE FOODS!... Stay strong; we depend on you to uphold our standards for genuine whole foods. You are a strong and powerful company, you have an obligation to maintain nobility and resist the evil Monsanto that is imminently coming for you--out to conquer all that is organic and non-GMO. We shall resist and defeat MONSANTO and all Biotech Big Ag evil: damaging and poisoning people, the Earth, and the animals--LIFE.

roseann miksich says …

GMO and non GMO crops cannot co-exist especially if the organic farmers are expected to protect their crops from the alien (GMO) invaders. The big money makers should be required to protect all of us from their experiments.

MR says …

Thank you. Please continue to fight this.

donya says …

Then what say you of this article, Libby? http://www.whydontyoutrythis.com/2013/06/usda-forces-whole-foods-to-accept-monsanto.html?m=1 unrelated, what about your raw milk cheeses? they should not have any signs of UHT dairy in them yet 2 times in a row both Raw Milk cheeses I bought from your Las Vegas Store had been ultra-heat treated. I know because I am a super-taster and can taste it in all dairy that has been treated by this horrible immune system compromising pasteurization method which was unnecessary yet mandated in the U.S. I called your store and spoke to the person who bought the cheese to let them know that they were either being lied to by the vendor selling it to them, or they were knowingly misleading the customers. UHT dairy can have very bad effects on a human body, forget that they taste horrible... to me, anyway.

Hot Carl says …

Why did WFM remove the Jan.21 email from the WFM website?

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@HOT CARL - First of all there was never an email. If you click on the link in the false article, it directs you to our blog (as you'll see in your address bar) where we still have the link live : http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/blog/whole-story/urgent-action-needed-support-organics-and-non-ge-crops. It appears they have the wrong link as we have not taken anything off of our blog.

IvI Clark says …

THANK YOU FOR LETTING SOME OF THE FOOLS OUT THERE. I SURE KNEW IT WAS BS!!

Saoirse says …

The GE crops that may be grown under the scheme you chose not to oppose with all your might will contaminate the entire food supply and the amount of Roundup that can be sprayed on them will make workers twice as likely to get cancer and kill soil microorganisms that sequester carbon. A hard line stance was entirely in order. If this is how Whole Foods chooses to use its influence, I cannot support you. Shame!

John O'Brien says …

We are counting you Whole Foods to continue to do the rigth thing abou GMO and organic food especially meat, fish and dairy! Thanks! John and family

April Mondragon says …

No am not angry, am going to tell you the truth of my personal experience and myI was treated rudely by two big fellas in your SF store... claiming that your company does not "get involved in politics, and would not support GMO labeling for our State" ... so you get with it, i have personal experience of being bullied by your personel, and will continue to boycott your stores until you start putting your billions into NO GMO ...NO GMO seed, food, are pro-labeling of GMO etc...you are not the victim of bad press...our children are....

James says …

Thank you for clearing that up. I am appalled at Monsanto and anyone who supports them. They may have started with good intentions, but as we now know it's a tragedy what there doing to our foods.

Beth Bowe says …

Thank you for this......someone posted an email that they stated was between WHole foods and FDA and stated Whole foods was goingntomsell GE alfalfa! First of all, isn't alfalfa mainly uses for animal feed? And if so, why would you be selling it. Thanks you again for posting....trying really hard to eat all organic, but with Monsanto all over the place it's going to get harder and harder...keep up the great work....just wish there wa astore alittle closer.

August says …

Really? What about all the canola oil in all of your products? Canola is not even safe to eat its a furniture polish and there is no way to tell if it's GMO or not. Almost ALL canola oil is from GMO Rape seed and is contaminated with glyphosate. It's also a trans fat from the deodorizing process. If you are going to talk the talk you might try walking the walk. Labeling please...it's only fair that we know what's in our food...whole or not.

John Lake says …

I just saw a post on FOODBABE in Facebook that STARTS the RUMOR AGAIN..What IS THE TRUTH and CAN WE HEAR IT FROM THE PRESIDENT OF WHOLE FOODS

Brian Symes says …

The USDA cannot make stores but GMO food, so the story sounded untrue . The story is who pays for blogs to produce false stories.

cynthia edwards says …

You might want to consider that NOT being "hardline about GMO's" kinda sorta puts you in the "we'll look the other way" camp. Why? Because there are no "grey areas" with GMO's, and you of all companies should know that. You CANNOT stop cross contamination of seeds and crops, once it's out there it's out there. You cannot stop contamination of wild fish. It WILL and HAS happened already, but then you know that right? This is not like "Well, ok so the chickens only get to go out once a day, which is not ideal but an ok compromise". This is like GMO's are FOREVER and this is the biggest untested science experiment on humans in history. THAT'S WHY PEOPLE HAVE TO BE HARDLINE! If this matters it can't just matter part way

brian hayes says …

I am scared of your products from China. I'm curious why you can't find pumpkin seeds from USA anywhere, as there are pumpkins grown all over the place. Are they that much more affordable being shipped all the way from China?

Paul Maysonave says …

this post is over two years old..the was just posted on facebook...what do you have to say about this 'turn-'of-events'?...hopefully it is incorrect....thank you, paul

LINDA says …

I know that WF feels exonerated with the above article, but can it really be believed. 365 Organic Brand--Not so organic. Their California Blend frozen veggies came from CHINA, where there is NO NO NO possibility of it being regulated and verified organic. When I have asked for the complete PLU numbers to be displayed on the fresh produce (the proper 5 number sequence, when only four numbers showed) so I could know if the produce was indeed organic (meaning (9____) or GMO (8____) of any other starting numbers from 0-7 for that very first place placement to determine the farming of the crops. I was told by the produce managers, on more than one occasion, that they did not have that info. I asked to check their bill of lading (billing and transport invoices for their produce) and he went into the back of the store never to be seen again. I asked the manager and he said maybe I should shop somewhere else. THESE PLU NUMBERS are determined by international agreements. BOTTOM LINE IS: Perhaps Whole Foods isn't and hasn't been wholly telling the truth for a while, especially for the past 2 years, as has been my case in Las Vegas, NV and I had witnesses to these incidents.

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@PAUL - The article you probably saw on Facebook was the same rumor that has been going around for over 3 years and the reason we wrote this article. We still do not have any affiliation with Monsanto. Since this post, we have announced GMO labeling for our stores because you have the right to know what's in your food. You can read more about the labeling at http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/gmo-your-right-know.

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@LINDA - The US Department of Agriculture regulations require that all products sold as organic in the United States be certified to the U.S. National Organic Standards regardless of where they are grown or processed. This means that an operation growing or producing organic products for export to the United States must be monitored and inspected by a USDA-accredited certifying agent and is subject to the same monitoring as an organic producer in the United States. Rest assured Whole Foods Market verifies the organic certification of the organic products we carry, and our own organic certifier includes a full audit of our vendors’ organic certification documentation regardless of where the product is grown. I'm a little confused about the PLU question, were you having a hard time finding the PLU? They should be stated on the product itself or the signage. Items will typically be 4 digits if it is conventional and then start with a 9 for organic and in our stores items that start with a 6 will be our Whole Trade Guarantee items.

Kelly says …

Oh I can't tell you how happy I am to come across this article. Please stay strong Whole Foods! We all appreciate you and what you're standing up for. As soon as you cave to Monsanto, you are no different than the rest. This is what makes you different and why many choose you over other options. It is why spending a little extra is worth it. Thank you.

John Brusen says …

Dear Whole Foods, Thanks for clarifying this story. I don't want to consume GMOs and don't want to support Monsanto. I was one of the folks that was misled by other perspective. It's very hard to know what to believe these days unless you have 1st-hand info. So I appreciate a well-rounded discussion of the subject. This entire subject is very active in Australia (where I now live) and there are several high profile legal proceedings under way between Monsanto and local farmers. So I want to have the "facts" from whatever perspective they arise. Thanks again for this clarity. Regards, John Brusen

lyllian caban says …

I feel relieved that WF continues to take a stand against mansanto. Thank You!

Chris Butler says …

Laughable that people are so concerned with GMO's in 2014. Just as they are suddenly so concerned with paper over plastic bags and bisphenol free bottles. Where were they 20 years ago. This was the time to take a stance on GMO . The world runs on rubber and is fuelled by petroleum. Thankfully we are doomed unless the tar sands shut down now, the third world stops consuming to western levels, China and India stops deforestation of the planet and devastation of our oceans somehow ends. What Whole Foods is trying to do is awesome but sadly much too late.

Chris Butler says …

Laughable that people are so concerned with GMO's in 2014. Just as they are suddenly so concerned with paper over plastic bags and bisphenol free bottles. Where were they 20 years ago. This was the time to take a stance on GMO . The world runs on rubber and is fuelled by petroleum. Thankfully we are doomed unless the tar sands shut down now, the third world stops consuming to western levels, China and India stops deforestation of the planet and devastation of our oceans somehow ends. What Whole Foods is trying to do is awesome but sadly much too late.

nick reaney says …

what do you guys do to fight what monsanto is doing to our earth and our environment? you are a huge company i wish i had the power that you have so i could revolutionize the world sooner than its to be expected. you would make history if you use your strengths to destroy them and millions will have your back we live in a democracy for a reason. please save our people!

Dana DeRogatis says …

Simply label all products that contain GMOs. If they are safe as claimed then why hide in plain sight? Also, I'm sure there are other consumers such as myself that want to avoid anything associated with Monsanto. In needs to be stated WFs increasingly big business stance is making me want to find alternative places to shop.

RwFoster says …

You know GMOs are harmless, right?

J. Vestuto says …

I have recently noticed a significant increase given to the shelf space in your stores to your 365 brand, which therefore limits other certified organic choices for the consumer. Further, your language stating that "365 Everyday Value and 365 Organic store brand foods are sourced to AVOID GMO ingredients and that many, (not all), have been verified under the Non-GMO Project verification program" is also troublesome. Just how "hard line" is your stance against GMO food? I will be paying even closer attention to the quality of products in your stores and shopping accordingly.

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@J. VESTUTO - Our 365 Everyday Value line of products, more than two-thirds are either certified organic, Non-GMO Project Verified, or both, which is a ten percent increase since our announcement a year ago. We are definitely working hard to have all of our 365 products certified non-GMO.

Roxane says …

"If you want to avoid GMOs, here’s what to look for in our stores:" Why do you carry GMO food at all?

Karina Figueroa says …

You guys are the best!!!

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@ROXANE - We are beginning this process by providing GMO labels so our customers can make an informed shopping decision. This will provide customers with the option to choose products based on their personal belief about GMOs.

patfulmer says …

Does Montsanto have any part of 365 ingrediates, even non GMO? We heard that they are part suppliers of 365.

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@PAT - I can assure you that Monsanto is not a supplier for our 365 product line.

Pages