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.)


Sounds like a $hill for WFM. I too have friends who work at Whole Foods and asked my friend who runs the produce section at one of the local WFM why organic and non-organic produce are next to each other. Especially egregious is when they spray the veggies and the organic are then tainted w/residue from the non-organic, chemically-treated produce. HELLO!! To which he replied, that his directive is to put both organic and non-organic produce together so as not to highlight the fact that there is a majority of non-organic produce which WFM sells w/much of this GMO. This is not a topic up for discussion he was told. Most of this produce is often imported from other countries where our banned pesticides are sold and then used on produce exported to our country. I also don't buy that WFM has lower organic prices than anyone else. Every so often, and rarely at that, do they have a loss leader and sell produce for pennies less than other organic outlets such as Vitamin Cottage or Sunflower Market. BTW, there is nothing positive or healthy about 'sustainable farming'. It's just a buzzword and propaganda sound bite that WFM and others are promoting to take the onus off of commercial fisheries where such egregious practices are in place. Raising fish in pens, so to speak, is analagous to raising cattle on grain, pumped full of anti-biotics, and keeping them penned up. Wild fish, which is available, less invasive, and healthier for the fish, environment, and hence us is far better than damaging practices that lessen a fish's Omega 3 content, use dyes to color the meat, and allow the fish to ineffectively filter out impurities in the water. They cannot keep up w/the effluent waste that is generated in these fish pens. Also, their prepared foods may taste good, but GMO canola oil, which is an industrial-grade machinery oil, is used in all their soups, grape leaves, which traditionally use olive oil, and for frying purposes. I asked the deli mgr why this inferior oil is used and she said WF mgmt is only allowing them the use of canola oil as it's cheaper and they can buy it in bulk. They used to use olive oil in some of their prepared foods, but no more, she said.

As far as myself and others are concerned, WFM has sold out and we refuse to shop there anymore. Granted, they have some fine fish and meat selections, but I can get those from my neighborhood fish monger whose prices are competitive and his fish actually fresher, plus I'm supporting a small local business where I'd much rather spend my money. As a family, we spend appx $700-800 a month, and about 25% of that goes to Whole Foods, but no longer.

I shop Whole Foods because they have beautiful produce, both Organic and conventional. Where most supermarkets ignore their produce and have no one on staff, at WF you can always find someone to ask a question and the product is well respected. Overall I find that organic produce is cheaper at WF and there is a better selection. When I try to buy the same products elsewhere including Giant, Safeway, Trader Joe's and even farmers markets, 1. they have very limited organic sections with higher prices, 2. most product isn't well labeled as to the source 3. at G & S, there is no one who can answer questions. When I've tried to get the same quality organic products at these other stores, I've often walked away empty handed because the produce they are selling has been damaged or is spoiled.

What this article is really about is that WF is trying to cut their losses and the losses for organic farmers. This may not be the most idealistic stance, but it may make good business sense.

I don't understand this article at all. Aside from the grammatical error, what does this actually mean:

"In exchange for dropping their opposition, WFM has asking for "compensation" to be paid to organic farmers for "any losses related to the contamination of his crop."

Huh? "Asking"? Asking Monsanto? Oh, yeah, I'm sure good ol' friendly Monsanto will be happy to pay out plenty of compensation, left and right, to all those organic farmers. Uh-huh. And I'm the Pope.

I agree. It's like asking Guido on the loading docks for fairer terms in the refinancing of your loan.

What's not to understand? People tend to have short memory. Forget the grammatical error and focus on what really matters! OBAMA APPOINTS MONSANTO'S VICE PRESIDENT AS SENIOR ADVISOR TO THE COMMISSIONER AT THE FDA! What matters is you can kiss organic food good-bye!

i have no clue to what this article means. there are several seperate subjects being reported and they are all jumbled into one bad story. i work for whole foods and we are laughing at this story at the moment. we just want to sell good food that is good for you. but most want to make this all political. just enjoy the good food that we offer. high prices or not. just be happy.

Yeah just eat your GMOs from whole foods and be happy while we laugh at you.

PR Watch's tag line of "reporting on spin and disinformation since 1993" apparently doesn't apply to reports deemed to be from "our" side. Ronnie Cummins is the source of this story, and there are few commentators about the organic world who are more full of spin and disinformation (spoken as a target of that tactic). I can't dissect the story point by point (no time right now), and as usual there are grains of truth in it - but these attacks on "big organic" only work to the detriment of all organic producers and advocates, and bolster the assault waged by the real villains of the food system.