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Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Importance of Avoiding WholeFoods

UPDATE 4 May: Whole Foods Responds Courtesy Rense News Network

UPDATE: 18 April - WF cozies up to China: ABC 7 I-Team Investigates: Organic Foods
First posted March 2010
Join Organic Consumers Association in Protest of WholeFoods Market
A WF employee, unhappy with this discussion, made a comment(4/20)and states - "And btw, none of the produce in my department is from China. Period."
While this anonymous person has a right to their opinion, perhaps they missed the point in the data, that products from China sold at WF may not be in their 'produce' department.
Whole Foods is a multi-billion dollar, U.S. based organic and natural foods chain that is buying up organic markets and lowering standards. Now they are trying to expand into Canada. WholeFoods likes to market to conscious consumers but when it comes to things those consumers care about like climate change, safe and healthy foods, and domestic Fair Trade, WholeFoods is all wrong.

Only one-third of the products sold by Whole Foods and their major supplier, UNFI are actually organic, while two-thirds are conventional foods greenwashed as so-called "natural"
WFM and UNFI talk about Fair Trade, while opposing unions and buying from suppliers who routinely violate the rights of farmworkers and other food workers. Join the Vancouver community and friends from Seattle in a rally on Monday March 8th to tell Whole Foods and its investors that what they are doing is "bad for the planet, bad for the people."
Why protest Whole Foods?
GREENWASHING FOOD: When it comes to healthy foods, Mackey says it's his priority, but instead of increasing organic sales, two-thirds of Whole Foods products are so-called natural foods that have no standards attached to them. In the majority of cases, "natural" products are greenwashed conventional products, produced using pesticides, GMOs and chemical fertilizers, with "natural" label claims neither policed nor monitored. Whole Foods has the potential to widely expand support to organic farmers and bolster the organic movement but cares more about it's bottom line--"natural" is not organic and increased sales of "natural" foods divert profits from organics back to conventional, industrial agriculture (see the Organic Consumers Association "Whole Foods and the Myth of Natural" for more on this).

CLIMATE CHANGE DENIAL: In a recent article in the New Yorker, WholeFoods CEO John Mackey dismissed "hysteria about global warming" claiming, "prosperity tends to correlate to warmer temperatures." And though top scientists almost unanimously agree that human activity causes climate change, Mackey says there is "no consensus." (New Yorker, 1/4/2010)

REFUSAL ON CARBON DISCLOSURE: In a study from sustainable business group Ceres earned a pitiful 27 score (out of a possible 100) on the assessment--flunking in basically every category. Whole Foods neither accounts for nor publicly discloses its emissions. As of the date of the report, the company didn't have emissions goals or plans in place for reducing emissions. Since that report was released, the company has taken on some additional commitments, but really doesn't appear to have changed much. (Ceres/Mother Jones)

VIOLATING FAIR TRADE PRINCIPLES AND LABOR RIGHTS: UNFI and WholeFoods have a history of cutting workers' benefits. Both have gone to extreme lengths to block their employees from choosing to unionize. WholeFoods has long fought unionization of its retail locations, largely ignored the demands of farm workers organizations, like the United Farm Workers, and kept workers' wages consistently low by industry standards. UNFI has repeatedly fought efforts by its employees to fight for better pay, benefits and working conditions. Where workers have successfully formed unions, UNFI has begun moving jobs to new, non-union locations.



Anonymous said...

Whole Foods is diluting organic standards and turning its back on American farmers in favor of the Chinese, but Mackey is correct about the hysteria of global warming. 'Top' scientists have diverse views on CO2 effect on climate, while some unrealistic dumbed down scenario is force fed to the masses.

Anonymous said...

I have never liked Whole Foods. It is WAY OVERPRICED. It is very pretentious. They only hire people who are "edgy" like hippies, east indians, gays as a marketing tool to get the dumb yuppies to shop there (look how cool I am to shop here where dirty hippies work, I am so morally superior and so cutting edge!). I saw a person working there who had a big pentagram tattoo on his arm. Yuk. Most of their employees smell and you can see dirt under their fingernails.

Unknown said...

I happened to live in the Haight in the Summer of Love and was very involved in my community as a volunteer with Diggers at St. John's Church and the Free Clinic. I also lived at Morningstar Ranch.
One of my dearest frineds tell me I am still a hippie, and I have to agree. I am not, however dirty nor have I ever been, and I don't like to make castigating remarks about people. Hoping you won't in the future.

Anonymous said...

Global warming is all hysteria. Quit buying into the scam. How can the smallest trace gas with .0003% of the atmospheric concentration do anything about anything? To claim that we understand what controls the weather is bizarre and unreasonable. We can't predict the weather next week accurately, but yet know what is going to happen the next century? The complexities involved, the different wavelengths of energy hitting us that we cannot even sense or fathom, the sun's involvement, volcanoes, methane gas vents from the ocean floor,our planetary neighbors, water vapor, clouds, the cycles we regularly go through,etc. We are only scratching the surface in this so called "science", and everybody's got it all figured out. Wow the arrogance of humans is astounding. It makes me sick to hear this garbage coming from a website that I pretty much agree on with regards to nutritional health.Maybe you should stick to that instead of the global warming propaganda that was actually created by Enron back in the 90's, the smartest guys in the U.S (they tried to set up a carbon credit trading system that didn't fly).
Pollution should be curtailed, not carbon dioxide as it is essential for plant life, which is essential for human life, which is self evident and was one of the first things I was taught in school. Has this basic relationship now changed?
If you cannot see the reason this is being pushed (control of our lives regarding energy usage - and massive GLOBAL TAXES that they can use to enslave and bondage us all), but I digress, nothing to see here, go back to decreasing your carbon footprint. I'll just go on being called a "denier", for asking reasonable questions. Take care, and don't forget to pay three times as much for EVERYTHING.

BP said...

I’m not sure what the bashing of WF is all about, but WF is one of the first to give a major push and awareness to organic. But I suspect that this article is bashing WF because of a non- union practice ? If Mackey & WF are against unions, I’m all for their stand! Unions rip off the public and inflate costs, etc. As far as global warming – it’s a giant hoax (do the research you pin heads and quit watching CNN & FOX) and WF is right on that too! The promoters of that hoax are looking for ways to pick your pocket with more taxes and control (carbon points) But here is where I differ – WF should not be buying anything from CHINA! Additionally, they should not use the “natural” con either, I agree, then again, buyers should get educated (read: turn off the TV) and learn more so they are not easily mislead with scams like that and global warming, carbon points, etc.

Unknown said...

Dear Bp,

I will agree that people need to get educated and that is the core purpose of Natural Health News.

I do not agree that WF was a first for making people aware of organics, Mackey just saw a good trend and got on the bandwagon. His personal history of manipulating stock and the promoting along with UNFI or processed food in boxes and a few more of his tricks tell me otherwise.

But then I joined my first organic coop in 1964 in Philadelphia.

People DO have options to WF and they should try to find those other resources in their communities rather than supporting a business that tries to lock out competition.

danvarnic_oc said...

I live in Orange County US, and I LOVE Whole Foods. Let me explain. I shop in all stores I can find: Trader Joes, Vons Pavilion, Stater Bros etc, and of course Whole Foods. I must say Whole Foods is by far the best store when it comes to clean organic food with no harmful ingredients (msg, transfats, artificial colors etc etc.) And true, at some point in time, it was called 'Whole Paycheck' store, because it was so expensive. But now, you can find organic stuff there that is CHEAPER than conventional stuff elsewhere! For example, their organic produce, their organic frozen meals etc. They have gone a long way from a pioneer in this arena.
And as far not supporting so called Global-Warming, I think CEO of Whole Foods is correct, and very brave to speak his mind. I suspect that many executives think the same, but current push to establish "carbon" taxes and collect money from sheople (sheep people) is so politically strong, they don't dare speak their mind.
Here is Southern California, for a third year in a row temperatures have been dropping. Right now temperatures have been about 7F lower than average for about 9 months in a row. The amount of rain we got in only 4 months this year is 3.7 times the annual average (channel KTLA news).
It seems that Sun is the real driver behind temperatures going up or down (Duh, stupid!).
I also saw employee fliers in Whole Foods. They offer various financial incentives to employee who eat organic, and who keep their body weight and cholesterol in check. That a way to go, dude! So called "health care" is a machine where symptoms are treated, and not the cause. There wouldn't be so much need for "health care" if sheople new that organic, clean food is good for their bodies, and that walking an hour a day is way better than watching idiocies such as reality shows and Dancing with the stars.
In short, this whole attach on Whole Foods is a lot of nonsense in my opinion.

Unknown said...


NHN always supports free speech as long as it is respectful and it is not laden with links that may not fit our journalistic standards.

I'd like to mention that WF isn't the first to suggest employee wellness programs. I started teaching them about 25 years ago. Other companies preceded me.

Cholesterol is a hoax but then most people - even those in healthcare - don't get this picture.

Look at all the foods sold at WF and identify the source country as well as all the canola oil.

I guess you didn't know canola oil is a trans-fat...

And this is not an "attach" on WF, it is a reporting of the facts of a troublesome situation.

NHN is just trying to educate, which is our main mission.

Anonymous said...

He's right on the global warming hysteria and the carbon scam. The serious issue is the greenwashing of foods. If he ever says GMO are safe then you know he's an idiot.

If you want some interesting and illuminating reading on climate try these 2 sites: (hope you like statistics!) (surface station locations, and temp "adjustment" debates).

Unknown said...

I received a comment I am choosing NOT to post because the source date is incorrect.
This post will give you the original information that has not been copied in the general practice of a web site whose owner began is very similarly named site during a time when he was actively copying information from my main domain and claiming it as his own.
Natural Health News observes journalistic standards and ethical practices...
FROM Sustainable Food News, Mar 9, 2007
Leading Organic & Natural Foods Retailer & Wholesale Distributor Will Test All Their Private Brand Labels for GMO Contamination
* Whole Foods, UNFI to test all private-label products for GM contamination
The Non-GMO Project also signs on Eden Foods, Lundberg Family Farms

Anonymous said...

I am all for the promotion of organic and farming practices that promote the small farmer. What worries me is when large corporations get into anything and run everything down to the lowest common denominator like W*l M**t has done. I would much rather support a community cooperative market where you can deal with the small farmer directly. This is the traditional European way of doing things and is still a very popular way of shopping in Europe despite the proliferation of mega corporations that retail food.

Anonymous said...

local Coops are the only way to go. They are in every metro area. They don't advertise but can be found if you look. The best place to start is The Westin A. Price Foundation - look it up in any search engine, find your local coop, join and put the small farmers back in control. If you think about it, having our food come from unregulated sources and provided to us through a few outlets, is a national security risk! Go Local!

Anonymous said...

Umm, lesse, some 95% or more of atmospheric scientists are in agreement about global warming, so that must be a consensus. Btw they agree it's happening and human activity is a significant driver of it. It's really sad for future generations. As for WF, what a mixed bag. I'm glad we have an alternative grocer in our town who has way better organic produce than WF. John Mackey sounds like a corporate nut, just the kind needed to make a big biz run. CEO's are a weird subculture, full of hubris.

Dr. Goldstein said...

Thanks for the heads up. I like to eat healthy, and I am used to paying extra for produce off-season.

Does "organic" automatically imply "GMO free"? Maybe someone here knows the answer? I don't trust food labels.

GMO scares the crap out of me:

Also, please don't assume that all vegans and nature-lovers drink Al Gore's Kool Aid. Sorry to inform you, but climate "skeptics" are now the majority. Only 34% still believe that humans cause global warming. The majority 66% believe in planetary trends / natural cycles / other (ref: Rasmussen, 2010)

Sure, humans make lots of pollution, but we can't control Earth's ongoing climate change any more than we can control continental drift.


Anonymous said...

I think anyone that complains about carbon dioxide should instantly be shot--if nothing else, to clean up the gene pool a bit
Hello--they inject CO2 into greehouses to get the plants to grow much faster--
in fact, you can increas the CO2 6 times with noting more than super growth.

Anonymous said...

If you've never been apart of a union, than you don't understand this article. This is about trying to force Unions into Whole Foods, especially in New York, where 98% of Super Markets are unionized. I've been apart of the Super Market business for over 11 years, and i'm still currently a member of Local 1500, and I can promise you that unions in supermarkets do nothing for us, and all they want is they're "Dues", they're more or less gangsters, that say, pay us for your protection. Well when you look at Pathmark who's been bought and sold a couple of times and the company has to pay these ridiculous pensions to these 30 year plus workers, who don't lift a god damn finger, and you're in my position, trying to make money to live a halfway decent life than you can come talk to me, until then stop riding the gravy train and look at the words that are in plain site.

European American said...

I agree with:

"Anonymous said...
I have never liked Whole Foods. It is WAY OVERPRICED. It is very pretentious. They only hire people who are "edgy" like hippies, east indians, gays as a marketing tool to get the dumb yuppies to shop there (look how cool I am to shop here where dirty hippies work, I am so morally superior and so cutting edge!)."

I no longer shop at WF. In the early days WF truly was "cutting edge" in their approach to creating a vision that was greatly needed. But over time, they fell pray to the same darkside that overshadowed the same American Collective that voted Obama (the Fraud) in to office. It's a sad commentary on how our culture has been put to sleep and how denial is now running rampant. .

Unknown said...

To the WH employee who demands their posts be added -
I have an editorial policy regarding posts that has a lot to do with the reason why I choose to moderate comments.
Your comment about the produce department where you work is not about the overall WH policy. Whole foods told OCA several years ago about its plan to look at GMO yet there are no results.
You sent in the same comment twice and subsequently you have attacked me with vituperative diatribes because I did not do what you wanted.
Sorry, but threats do not fly at Natural Health News and neither do links to sites that take data and exclude atrribution.

Anonymous said...

Hi herbalYoda: i am sorry for the nasty remarks about hippies (but not about whole foods). I have known a few hippies and I did like them. The people at whole foods, that I have seen were pretty dirty and one at the Madison Wisconsin store did have a big pentagram on his forearm. If anything I should hate the yuppies who shop there!! No hippies are not necessarily dirty but Whole Foods employees are.