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.)


EVERYONE has a right to know what they are eating. Monsanto doesn’t want people to know b/c if they were transparent about what their products were NO ONE would buy them. Monsanto is dispicable. They threaten the livelyhood of many small family farmers, put them out of business and sue them if they show opposition to their unlawful patent laws. What they are doing is criminal and we should all be willing to stand up to this kind of bullying and harrassment.

My company, Planet Organics (www.planetorganics.com), has been bringing organic produce –from small family farms- to the doorsteps of thousands of households over the past 15 years. We will NEVER stop protesting, fighting and voting in opposition against Monsanto. This is too important. I'm disappointed that Whole Foods would back down; they could use their super -chain store- power for good instead of caving to the evil empire of Monsanto. It’s shameful.

It’s time to get back to the basics; shop local, at Farmers Markets and from people you know and trust. If we stop supporting these large chain-stores, then there is no place for Monsanto and their GMO Franken-Foods. Bye Bye, the end of them!

tell me how to help, I am new to eating strictly organic and trying to buy local.

Hey! I wanted to reply to you specifically because I know how confusing organic vs not can be! First of all, definitely make sure it says "certified organic" - a lot of packaging can fool you! I am often fooled, and I have to really read it, and it'll have every natural phraseology in the book on it except for "certified organic". So really read (seems obvious, but it's not. They are working to trick you, so even long time organic eaters have to really read) - and another huge tip! Anything certified organic has a PLU number that starts with "9" - even if the product says "organic" and it doesn't have this PLU number, it's not really organic. That has helped me so much! Hope it helps you!

I am the perishables buyer (not produce--- dairy, refrigerated grocery, bread, frozen) at a large natural foods coop. I have lots of certified organic products and a "plu" number that does not start with "9" is not and indication of whether the product is organic or not. I assume you mean "upc" by "plu", but that number there with the barcode, Organic Valley starts with 9, but, for example, Horizon starts with 7 and Stonyfield organic starts with "5". So, forget the tips, and look at the lable for the certified organic symbol or some other creditable statement concerning the nature of the ingredients.

I read this article and was instantly disappointed in Whole Foods, as such, I did my due diligence and emailed the company. My question to them was: "Hello, I recently read that Whole Foods is going to stop opposing Monsanto. From what I read it stated that WF's is asking in return that farmers whose crops are contaminated receive compensation. What is the real story on this?"

In reply to me they wrote this:

"Whole Foods Market has no ties with Monsanto. This is a lingering rumor that came out of some widespread misinformation that the Organic Consumers Association distributed in early 2011.
The issue rose when WFM and several others in the organic food industry testified at a congressional hearing in support of farmers’ rights to grow Non-GMOcrops. Because we did not take the exact hard-line stance that the OCA did, they accused of “being in bed with Monsanto,” and the rumor developed further from there. Whole Foods Market has no ties to Monsanto, and did nothave any interaction with the company concerning this or any other issue.
[and with regards to GMO's in their foods]
Our goal at Whole Foods Market is to provide informed consumer choice with regard to genetically engineered ingredients. Clearly labeled products enable shoppers who want to avoid foods made with GMOs to do so, and we offer a large and increasing number of choices in our stores. We source our entire line of national store brand products (365 Everyday Value and 365 Organic) to avoid GMOs, working closely with our suppliers to ensure that they avoid the intentional use of GMO ingredients."
So, this article is not all the facts, or even some of the facts really, it is info that has been skewed to make the company look bad when in fact they have not changed their ideals regarding GMO's. I have a real problem with the last line of this article: "WFM and their main distributor, United Natural Foods, maximize profits by selling products labeled "natural" at premium organic prices" because you know what, I buy their 365 and WF's brand natural products all the time at the same price as a comparable "conventional" made product, and the organic products are more expensive than the natural products.

of ties between Monsanto and WF rears it's ugly head again. Believe it or not we are all tied to eachother and many of us have skewed views on the topics which truly matter. Next time I have an issue with a major corporation, I will write to them, and no matter the response (provided "They" do) I will take they are telling me the absolute truth, and know that they have my best interest at heart. All grocery chains provide labeling on items so customers who want to avoid GMOs can do so.
USDA ORGANIC is a popular alternative. Our country currently does not require GMO foods to be labeled ofd. So when working closely with their suppliers to "avoid" the "intentional" use of GMOs, what happens in the case of "accidental contamination?" Avoid is a good word to know. So is submission. Because that is exactly what WF is doing in this situation. Monsanto is literally killing the earth, us. WF has decided to end the fight against the implementation of Roundup Ready Alfalfa, and is now asking monsanto for compensation. This gesture may skew the view of a few. There are bigger issues at hand besides the supposed inaccurate reporting.

While i understand your concern about possible food contamination by 'dangerous' materials i do not see what is so dangerous about such genetically altered food as such round up ready seeds, with living in britain i have no-one planting such seeds here, yet statistically speaking with the fact that various seeds from the middle of america have been found here, having been picked up in the wind then there's as much chance of contamination here as there is there. But really what can we all do?

Do you want farmers to grow all their crops in massive greenhouses so nothing can come and contaminate the land? but what if it's already there?

Must they then raze their fields and grow nothing year for a few years to be sure? or what must they do if they find it already in their crops?

You want prducts free from various things, yet these are products your government assures you are safe to plant, and while you may not believe them, what can your farmers do if they accidentaly are contaminated? if you want rules in place to get such things out their food, then farmers will find theirselves with much undervalued or completley unsellable crop. This if nothing else will drive them to growing only GMO crops as while they may sell for less, they will not have to worry about any additional fines or fees due to finding their famrs crop went for evaluation, and was found contaminated.

All these questions to be answered for your worried and that's without even asking how to spot the contaminated food, many might suggest a long period of processing that would most likely not spot all the cases, and would triple the costs of the foods. While in my mind the easiest thing to do would be to add the fluorsecent marker to it that has been added to certain fish for a fancy new look, but i'd hate to think how much more people would be frightened of a crop made sturdier by us (something we've been doing since the stone ages) if it glowed in the dark.

While a contaminated organic farm can do basically nothing but sue Monsanto (which I'm not aware has ever been done successfully), Monsanto could Not sue the organic farm for copyright infringement. Many organic farms have been destroyed by simply existing, becoming contaminated and subsequently sued out of business by Monsanto. This is an international issue for sure.

Unfortunately, our government much less science cannot assure us the GE products are safe for the long-term. While question still remains the FDA refuses to allow labeling of such products. The companies that spent millions lobbing for right to sell these questionable products know very well that any labeling would hurt their business. When in business for as much profit as possible, long-term effects become mere nuisances. The inherent fallacy that there is no money to be made in protecting the common good remains the short sighted failure of our current cultural belief system within capitalism. Get rich quick and forget all those you depend upon to get rich.

Its interesting that in this day and age someone would utter the words take a corporation at their word. Your words ring hollow and I would like to know what branch of Mansanto you work for and as far a labeling is concerned when there is no and I mean no regulations to force anyone to label that their products carry GMO in them your grocery store method falls on deaf ears. Compensation for organic farmers sounds nice on the surface but who is going to compensate the people poisoned by Monsato corn that comprises 60 to 80 percent of feed for animals in the US an who is going to compensate the children we are raising consuming these poisoned animals. Due diligence has nothing to do with writing a company and your views are too naive to me to take seriously. I will continue to support local growers and growing my own garden in hopes that we can someday wake up and get ourselves out of this death trap we are building for ourselves and our children.

Bravo that you did your due diligence. We have so few corporations that work from integrity, I have been a long time whole foods supporter and yes as they grow issues may grow...but it certainly sounded not in line with what I have come to know about them. Yes I believe they are accurate in not being involved and yes I do believe Bio tech companies would do everything possible to remove any corporations voice that have the peoples need in their mind. History shows more evidence of this then the other.