Whole Foods Market Caves to Monsanto

WholeFoodsMarketAfter 12 years of battling to stop Monsanto's genetically-engineered (GE) crops from contaminating the nation's organic farmland, the biggest retailers of "natural" and "organic" foods in the U.S., including Whole Foods Market (WFM), Organic Valley and Stonyfield Farm, have agreed to stop opposing mass commercialization of GE crops, like Monsanto's controversial Roundup Ready alfalfa.

In exchange for dropping their opposition, WFM has asked for "compensation" to be paid to organic farmers for "any losses related to the contamination of his crop." Under current laws, Genetically-Modified Organisms (GMOs) are not subject to any pre-market safety testing or labeling. WFM is abandoning its fight with biotech companies in part because two thirds of the products they sell are not certified organic anyway, but are really conventional, chemical-intensive and foods that may contain GMOs and that they market as "natural" despite this. Most consumers don't know the difference between "natural" and "certified organic" products. "Natural" products can come from crops and animals fed nutrients containing GMOs. "Certified Organic" products are GMO-free. WFM and their main distributor, United Natural Foods, maximize profits by selling products labeled "natural" at premium organic prices.  (A typographical error in the second sentence of this story was subsequently corrected.  We regret this minor error.)


WFM is fearful of losing money.
This is a war that The People are winning anyway.
Monsanto's actions will reflect back onto itself and Nature Is Is Victorious.

I work at Wholefoods and this is a lie, gather the facts Wholefoods is against gmo farming, our quality of foods and how they meet our standards are top most importance. There is no exception to this rule.

Mainstream media reports are laced with exaggeration and serve more as entertainment vs. education. Their main goal is to connect with you emotionally and they'll go to great legnths to achieve this. It's what keeps people coming back. Well, except people who choose to think independantly and question the source and motive behind any and every article/story. PR Watch claims to focus on:

"Investigating and countering P.R. campaigns and spin by corporations, industries, and government agencies"

but this article was as irresponsible and agenda laden as the best of mainstream reporting. What gives?

Dear cc:

I don't think Anne's short report on the controversy over the role of some of the corporate groups in the new GMO rule was "irresponsible...."

WFM concedes that it "endorsed the coexistence option rather than an outright ban on GE alfalfa" and rationalizes that by saying that "The USDA presented the industry with only two options that they were considering– deregulation and deregulation with restrictions . . . – the option of an outright ban was not on the table."

But, imagine if they stood firm for the ban and put the money and time spent having a seat at the table with USDA on turning up the heat on the Obama Administration in favor of a ban. Imagine if they had fully rallied their customers and their farmers and others to stand united against a ban rather than accepting the two options Monsanto put the captured USDA up to. Had there been enormous push back, it is likely that the USDA may still have gone with deregulation with restrictions and perhaps even more restrictions and not had the political space to even say that full deregulation was an option.

What I think is outrageous is for corporations like WFM and Stonyfield to suggest that it's not appropriate for activists to criticize them, to suggest that those opposed to GMO food are not realistic and just don't understand what it's like to have a seat at the table with USDA. And, then to hide behind the skirts, so to speak, of the farmers on the front lines who are working to provide people with GMO-free organic products while the corporate heads are rubbing elbows with their friends at the USDA, who have sold out again is really something to behold.

PRW is committed to investigating PR campaigns and spin by corporations, industries, and government agencies, and I stand fully behind Anne's story on this topic. The industry capture of the federal agency on this subject and the corporate capitulation by green marketers and the spin that full deregulation versus partial deregulation were the only options the corporate "stakeholders" were allowed to consider was worthy of our attention and critique. The companies chose to accept that those were the only options rather than eschew them and join the broader organic community is standing firm that this was not negotiable. They made a choice. It was the wrong choice. And, it gives cover to the USDA's service of Monsanto's agenda.

I understand that I wasn't in the room. And, having been in the room on a variety of issues in DC I understand the allure and the rationales on compromise. But, sometimes you just have to say no, we will not go along with this and get a slice of bread or a crumb. And, this was one of those times. Partial deregulation and compensation will not protect the crops, the farmers or the people, at the end of the day. And, everyone who has been following this closely knows it. Full dereg would not either of course. And, at the end of the day, another GMO product will spread.

Lisa Graves

This store is called a quality food store NOT a health food store. Appropriate as it now demonstrates a lack of concern for health with the endorsement of the very evil empire previously demonized.The ONLY right action is boycott.

Monsanto is the next tobacco industry. The bigger problem is that we will probably never see the day of their reckoning because the politicians and FED regulators are in bed with them. When it comes out they will distract us with another bubble burst or war.

I was not aware these brands, which I previously trusted and respected, had done this "deal" with Monsanto, nor was I aware of WFM "bait and switch" tactics regarding marketing "natural" foods as if they were organic. I'm disillusioned by the lot of them, and will stop shopping there.

I want to assure you that Organic Valley has never "struck a deal" with Monsanto, and has been one of the organizations fighting GMOs for years. You can read our response to the misinformation being spread in posts like this here: http://ov.coop/3ga. -Leslie Kruempel, Organic Valley