Posted by The PRW Staff on January 15, 2014

Whole Foods Market has agreed to stop selling produce grown in sewage sludge! The company has announced a new set of standards for the fresh produce and flowers it sells, which will be presented in stores nationwide in September 2014. Activist and educated shopper Mario Ciasulli received word from the company that prohibiting the use of sewage sludge as a “fertilizer” will be part of the core requirements. Thank Whole Foods for listening to consumers, ask Whole Foods to make this announcement public, and tell the company you’ll be watching to see that these changes are made!

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Comments

This new Whole Foods policy is good news. We hope that this will set the trend for other markets to follow suit. Meanwhile Whole Foods should also consider not accepting dairy products, especially milk, from farmers that graze their cattle on pastures that have been spread with sludge. Cattle ingest soil, as well as forage, and on treated pastures, they would be ingesting sludge. Toxic sludge chemicals, such as dioxins and PCBs, are excreted through lactation, so they end up in milk.

Good for Whole Foods, but so what? USDA Organic farms are not supposed to be using bio-solids anyway. The only difference between bio-sludge and the compost being used on "USDA Organic" farms in California is that sludge is tested while the compost is not.

The mega USDA Organic farms in California (eg Earthbound Farms) are dependent on the use of tons of off-farm compost, per acre and are still being certified as 'USDA Organic" by the CCOF (in collusion with NOP) despite the fact that compost they are importing is proven to be contaminated with pesticides that are specifically not allowed for use on USDA Organic certified farms. Contrary to common beliefs, there generally is no testing of any of the products being used on USDA Organic farms in California. Unlike the compost being used on USDA Organic farms, with sludge you have a better idea of what's not in it. The official USDA AMS NOP position regarding contaminating of soil, water, and air on USDA Certified farming operations, at least in California is "We do not test." Here's a link to the official NOSB definition of "organic" as per the USDA:
http://www.nal.usda.gov/afsic/pubs/ofp/ofp.shtml

Large scale composting also consistently fails to keep the trash out, trash like plastics, like corrugated cardboard in which PVC glue is sometimes used, and like inks, which despite the industry greenwash of having “a soy based carrier” may still have heavy metals as coloring agents.

These are compromises the industry makes. There may be rare exceptions, large and municipal scale operations that do keep their products clean.

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