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.)


Siince we can't seem to get our greedy governments to stop them, this is not a bad trade off, if they keep their agreement, because they will eventually be forced to pay out to every organic farmer on the planet as their contamination spreads. The next agreement must be they will compensate for all diseases incurred by those eating GM food. Eventually they will go bankrupt, nature will rebel and start over with her own designs.

Question "How can you be sure you are not getting GE seed?"

Sustainable Seed Company: "This is a huge and complicated issue. But here are just a few basics... 1. Sustainable Seed Co. does not sell genetically modified seed. How do we prove that? 2. We signed the safe seed pledge. BUT if you look at that list you see companies that also signed the pledge and are selling Seminis/Monsanto seed. The seed they are selling is NOT GE seed, but they are still selling seed that profits a company who is creating GE seed. So you have to ask yourself if you want to support that? It is a personal decision. See Francis' post below for the list of Seminis/Monsanto dealers. 3. We can only test for GE contamination in varieties that we know of. That is kind of confusing...let me give an example. "Currently", there are no GE beets other than sugar beets. There is a test to look for the genetic markers of the known GE sugar beet. We test for that. Are they experimenting with other beets? We don't know. The table beet industry had to move out of the Willamette Valley in OR, when GE sugar beets started being produced to avoid contamination. Beet pollen can travel 5 miles that we know of. Maybe more? 4. I think the truth is no one really knows just how much of our word has already been polluted by GE crops. We were told they would not contaminate or cross over to other non-GE plants, but they have. Who is out there testing? 5. It is estimated that over 1/2 of heirloom corn has now been contaminated with GE traits. This is why we moved to an isolated valley in the nation's first GE Free County. It is the first line of defense. We now have to test all of our corn seed stock before planting. VERY expensive. We are being polluted on and have to pay the consequences. Where is the justice in that? Who will hold big AG accountable? The Federal judges or the Agriculture Secretary that used to work for them? 6. There isn't a neat and clean answer unfortunately. It is very complex, but we can try to answer your questions here if you have any." from FB

The Whole Foods owner disavowed the new healthcare legislation, sold unsustainable seafood, and now this.
Local Farmer's Markets. That's the ticket.


In some cases "natural" does mean "organic," just that the company/farm was too small and/or the process of/barriers to becoming "certified organic" was too costly. It is important to acknowledge that "natural" doesn't always mean something, but I think a much more important point is to just do research on individual companies and products and make sure you understand where the products are coming from. We can all be more mindful consumers by not relying on these "always/never" rules but rather seeking out information about food we are buying ourselves.

I'm not defending Whole Foods necessarily, but just pointing out the fact that the author(s) took this part of it a bit too far.

I agree with you. Natural CAN mean mostly or even completely organic - we have a small farm and can't afford organic 'certification', but are basically organic.

In addition to the very valid points said here about small farms and the organic process, the produce that isn't organic is labelled as "conventional" in several Whole Foods I've been to in the area, not "natural"... I'm not sure where this article got "natural" (which is a word that has no meaning anyway... there's nothing "natural" about "natural flavorings" or most things with that label) vs. "organic" from.