Whole Foods Market Caves to Monsanto

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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.)




I agree. All of my

I agree. All of my experiences with staff at Whole Foods have been markedly informative: They demonstrated above and beyond knowledge, awareness, and care regarding accurate representation of the source and content of their products. If (on rare occasion) they didn't know the answer to my question, they would be able to state clearly exactly which aspect of the question they did not know the answer too. This person's article is very inflammatory indeed, and although I am against Monsanto, it is going to become an ongoing problem because of Monsanto's power, and we cannot just boycott every single distributor or market that cannot withstand their torrid pressure.

exactly...very good point

exactly...very good point ...all to often people are misunderstanding the facts...!!!

The FDA needs to label GMO's:

The FDA needs to label GMO's: http://justlabelit.org

Logical, but...

What you say makes a lot of logical sense, but not practical sense. There is simply no way that my wife and I can research all the individual products and companies that make all the products that we purchase. There is not enough time in the day, even if we didn't have anything else to do (like work, take care of the house and spend time with our daughter).

I need these labels to mean something, and I need the grocery store to do the due diligence and screening on my behalf to ensure the labels mean something. With my limited time and knowledge, I can put food I buy into only three categories of sustainability and responsibility:

Locally produced and purchased directly from a representative or employee of the farmer (e.g., farmers markets). I can feel pretty safe about this, even if these foods are not purely organic or not certified organic. Our "apple guy" at our local farmers market does use some pesticide, but we can talk to him about it directly and decide if we agree that he's being careful and responsible about it. This is pretty time-intensive, and is only available to us in any practical way during the summer.

Certified organic, which still might mean excessive water use and tilling to manage weeds instead of pesticides. And it still might mean shipping from across the globe. And definitely means expensive.

Everything else, because none of the other labels mean anything.

This is why I need Whole Foods and others to be diligent and more clear on their labeling. They're in a position to do this--I am not.

In addition to the very valid

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.

I agree with you. Natural

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.

Whole Foods

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




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