8 Reasons I Won’t Shop at Whole Foods When it Opens in Boise, Idaho

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Over the last 5 or 6 years, I’ve been hearing the question, “why doesn’t Whole Foods come to Boise?” Before I knew much about food and nutrtion, I too thought this would be a great thing, to have such a pillar of whole foods and health in our city.

This was before I realized what Whole Foods really is: a wolf in sheep’s clothing.  After educating myself, I have learned all about Whole Foods and their mission to sell “healthy food” to the consumer market.

Over the years, I have shopped at Whole Foods in other cities when I traveled and had no other choices. I also do everything I can to bring my own food with me – especially if I’m driving. I want to avoid having to pay the expensive prices Whole Foods charges for their products, especially because I know that I’m really not getting what is claimed on the label for my money.

8 reasons I won’t shop at Whole Foods in Boise, Idaho:

1. Whole Foods claims to be anti-GMO. They have engaged in large anti-GMO campaigns throughout their history.  But the fact remains, Whole Foods carries a great deal of GMO products in their stores.

GMOs are becoming more and more pervasive in our food supply. Most soy, corn, canola, and cotton come from GMO sources. There are currently no labeling laws in the U.S. If something isn’t labeled “non-GMO” or “GMO-free” it’s probably GMO.

If you watch this video, you can see that when Alexis Baden-Mayer, Political Director of Organic Consumer’s Association asked a Whole Foods employee whether store products had GMO  ingredients in them, the question was patently avoided. When you shop at Whole Foods, you are likely buying GMO foods without realizing it.   How can a corporation claim to be anti-GMO and continue to carry GMO products? It’s wholly abhorrent, and sends a mixed message to the consumer public. Wouldn’t a company that is so outspoken about GMOs be eager and open to answer the question? In my opinion, this refusal to answer the question shows that they in fact do have GMOs in their store.

In 2011, Organic Consumer’s Association featured an article talking about how Whole Foods admits they sell GMOs, and Natural News also featured an article talking about how despite its best efforts, “products sold at Whole Foods do, in fact, contain genetically engineered ingredients, even when Whole Foods would prefer they didn’t.” Even with this recent information being released, Whole Foods continues to make it seem like they are anti-GMO, when clearly they are not. If they would just drop the pretense of being on an anti-GMO campaign, it wouldn’t be nearly so deceitful.

There are so many issues with labeling now and misinformation being conveyed to consumers, many consumers believe that just because a product carries the word “all- natural“, “organic“, “low-fat“, “low sodium“, “lean meat” on its label, that makes it safe and healthy to consume.

This is not the first time I’ve blown the whistle on Whole Foods. In January of 2011, I wrote a post about big corporations who were agreeing to partial deregulation of GMOs. These companies: Whole Foods, Stonyfield Farm, and Organic Valley, gave their blessing to the USDA about allowing a “co-existence” of GMOs in our food supply. If you understand the inherent threat GMOs pose to our food supply, you would never agree that co-existence is a good thing or even possible.  Many people argued with me that there were only two choices available as stated by the USDA: partial deregulation and full deregulation, and that these entities did the right thing by choosing the “lesser of two evils”. Again, there is no such thing as co-existence with GMOs. Once those organisms are in our food supply, they will contaminate EVERYTHING and cause harm to us, our farmland, animals, and the environment.

Those companies could have just refused to agree to these terms. If I were the one making decisions for those companies, that’s exactly what I would have done, and let the chips fall where they may.  Those consumers who have high standards would have supported them, and their businesses would have continued to flourish. And they would have remained with their integrity intact. As it stands, their ethics and business strategies are very much compromised, and their reputation forever called into question. For those companies, they clearly saw it as a matter of less profit to disagree with those two choices.

2. Whole Foods is one of the most over-priced grocery stores at which you’ll ever have the pleasure of shopping.

For years, I’ve listened to people in my city complain about the expense of our employee-owned and locally operated Boise Consumer Co-op.  Guess what folks, real food costs more.  The fact that you can go to Win-Co, Wal-Mart, or some other discount grocery store and pay $1.99 – 2.99 for a pound of steak is not a good thing. You are still paying a lot for those processed foods (yes, that steak is highly processed and full of chemicals, antibiotics, hormones, GMOs, etc) you buy at the chain grocery store due to farming subsidies (paid for by every tax payer), the fact that the food you are buying has little to no nutritional value, and your doctor bills later. But many people don’t take that into consideration.

So when I hear people complain about how expensive the Co-op is, I think about how amusing it will be to see their jaws drop when they see the prices in Whole Foods.  And it’s not just in certain cities like Las Vegas and L.A. I’ve shopped at Whole Foods in those cities as well as Orlando, Seattle, and others, and prices are consistently higher than any other health food store I’ve shopped. I’ve talked to dozens and dozens of people all over the country who shop in numerous locations, and what I’m hearing from them is that prices are also higher in their cities, 2-3 times higher than any other health food store.  If you think Whole Foods has better prices and selection, you are in for a rude awakening indeed. And even though you are paying more, guess what? The quality of food is not high enough to justify those prices (in fact, most of it is not healthy at all).

3. Whole Foods proudly advertises their support of small, local farmers, and yet the majority of their products are from many miles away.

In this article from Slate (2006), a small farmer from Connecticut explains why this isn’t really the case:

“Almost all the organic food in this country comes out of California. And five or six big California farms dominate the whole industry.” There’s a widespread misperception in this country—one that organic growers, no matter how giant, happily encourage—that “organic” means “small family farmer.” That hasn’t been the case for years, certainly not since 1990, when the Department of Agriculture drew up its official guidelines for organic food. Whole Foods knows this well, and so the line about the “small family farmers that make up a large percentage of organic food producers” is sneaky. There are a lot of small, family-run organic farmers, but their share of the organic crop in this country, and of the produce sold at Whole Foods, is minuscule.

Okay, I get it. To be competitive and offer products people want, most grocery stores sell produce shipped in from all over. This has been the model of grocery stores for decades and decades. But don’t advertise and market yourself as a company that stocks products from local farmers when it’s very obvious that the majority of your inventory is anything but local or produced by small farmers. In 2008, news reports uncovered the fact that much of Whole Foods organics are not even from California, but China. It’s dishonest. It’s half truths like this, in addition to the blatant, outright lies that Whole Foods tells to its consumers (such as being anti-GMO and stocking many GMO products in the store) which have made me so mistrustful of this corporation.

4.  Even though I do buy some foods from other sources, there are many wonderful, sustainable, local farms in my area which I have been buying my meat, poultry, produce, and raw dairy from for years, and will continue to purchase from in the future.

Here are some of the farms from which my family buys food:

None of these food producers uses GMOs, and I trust these farmers implicitly because they have always been transparent with me and other customers in their practices.

5.  In March of 2010, Whole Foods Corporate office announced that although it had formerly carried raw milk on its shelves, it was issuing a new corporate policy of discontinuing this practice on a national level.

For years, Whole Foods carried Organic Pastures raw milk. Our family drank OP raw milk and ate raw dairy foods for 2 years, and they were some of the best we’ve ever eaten. Organic Pastures is the largest raw milk dairy in the country and has never had an outbreak of pathogenic bacteria during the time they’ve been in business, which is over 10 years. Organic Pastures sells to many, many satisfied residents and visitors all over the state of California and beyond, and continues to sell milk in a variety of stores, businesses, and locations.

I can’t support a corporation which bans the sale of healthy, raw milk and yet allows a variety of inferior dairy products to grace its shelves with the assumption that these are “health foods”. One example is Organic Valley, a dairy conglomerate which is now considered one of the pinnacles of health in the food system, and yet they use ultra high temperature pasteurization, which effectively destroys all good bacteria, proteins, fats, and enzymes in milk. So much for the money you are spending on those products – and they aren’t cheap. Every time you buy Organic Valley products, you are getting denatured enzymes and other nutrients, as well as dead bacteria. Doesn’t sound quite so healthy anymore, does it?

6.  There is already one great local health food store where I do shop and will continue to shop –  The Boise Consumer Co-op, and two brand new businesses opening up this spring, Huckleberry’s Natural Market and Natural Grocers.

I’d much rather support a locally-owned and/or family-operated business which prides itself on being part of the community in which it resides, and has principles in supporting the local, surrounding food system, than a large, corporate, pseudo-health store catering to the affluent who don’t bother to educate themselves about foods and products they are buying, and who are impressed by above all – slick marketing and high price tags. I’ve not yet shopped at Natural Grocers, but I like their mission statement information, and have heard great things about it from others I know. I used to shop at Huckleberry’s Natural Market when we lived in Spokane, WA for a year and loved it.

7. Did you know the USDA standards for organic beef only requires “grassfed” beef to be 30% grassfed?

That’s right. So even though Whole Foods says they have very high standards about humane treatment, grass-feeding, etc., what you are buying there is really only required by law to be 30% grassfed. So even though in some cases you will pay up to 3 times more for the meat they sell there, you are only getting about the same amount of time on grass as feedlot meat. It also means some producers choose to finish cattle on grain for the last 90 to 160 days before slaughter, and that folks, is not grassfed beef.  The last 30 days of an animal’s life is the most critical for assessing nutrient quality of the meat.   

8.   Whole Foods CEO John Mackey posted under an assumed name for multiple years on Yahoo’s online forums, and trashed the store it eventually bought out, Wild Oats.

The reputation and integrity of a company rests heavily upon those who represent it. How can you trust a company whose CEO is engaged in such activities? This deceitful action embarrassed his company and probably pissed off many of the competitor’s stockholders. This action put a shadow on his entire person, calling into question the integrity of his actions. Can we really trust this man or his company to be truthful about the products it sells? He says he “had fun doing it”. Very childish, and doesn’t speak well of his ability to make sound decisions. It borders on pathological behavior.

Some people might believe my purpose in writing this article is to be nit-picky or that I’m just a snob. But this is serious stuff. This isn’t about empty criticisms or bad-mouthing a company that does ” the best they can”. It’s about blowing the lid on corporations who have continually made it a practice to appear green, sustainable, and healthy in the products they sell, but who certainly are not. It’s extremely important we make a distinction between all the marketing and advertising we are continually bombarded with – products which we are told are healthy for us and the environment – and those which aren’t. Sadly, these make up a majority of what’s available on the market. That’s why it’s critical to know what these corporations are doing and understand that they are pulling the wool over our eyes when they tell us they are better than all the other conventional stuff available.

I think these are pretty compelling reasons to avoid large chain stores and support local, sustainable farmers who avoid GMOs in their farming practices, whether it be in crops or feed they give to their livestock/fowl. These 8 reasons also really illustrate the importance of accountability and transparency in our food system and our farming industry, which currently is under a great amount of scrutiny from the real food and sustainable communities for some of the reasons I mentioned here.

If you doubt the integrity of the commercial, industrial food system and farming industries, you are not alone. These issues are becoming more and more visible with food recalls which happen regularly and are documented in various places. All you have to do is a little research, and the things you will learn will make you angry and disturbed. But becoming aware is the first step in taking action against companies and corporate farms who continue to sell unsafe food and who are not thwarted by our own government, which is supposed to protect us.

More posts: 

Is cheap food really cheap? The hidden costs of industrial food 

Questions to ask your farmer – know what’s in your food! 

Processed food and eating disorders – a product of modern society

 

37 Comments

  • February 23, 2012 - 8:30 AM | Permalink

    I do disagree on costs. I have a Whole Foods near me, and shop there. There are certain items that I can’t buy anywhere else locally most of the time. If you don’t buy their packaged foods, or premade (in-store) items, they are not that expensive. Their store brand, unsalted, no hormones/antibiotics butter was just $1.50/lb. recently. They have good prices on local eggs and honey — local within 50 miles of me. Often times their prices are cheaper than other health food stores around me, but not on every item. You have to know your prices, same as any other grocery store.

    I have noticed in my Whole Foods that they are offering in-store-made chicken stock now (real chicken stock, in the refrigerator case). They’ve had a few one-day deals for organic meat (I’ll buy chicken from them when they do, but not beef — I have a couple better and cheaper sources of beef).

    Yes, there are problems with Whole Foods — I’ve written about it too. That’s going to be true of any retailer, especially bigger ones. But I think it still meets a need for many people. You just have to be smart about HOW you shop there.

  • February 23, 2012 - 9:05 AM | Permalink

    Kate – I agree, you have to pick and choose much of what you buy in most places, and I do that pretty much wherever I go. In my city, the prices I’ve paid consistently for food at my local health food store are always much cheaper, as well as the farm food I buy, than anything I’ve ever bought in any WF store I’ve ever been to – and I’ve been to their stores in at least a dozen cities, some cities larger and some smaller. If WF carried the foods I wanted at an affordable price, and were truthful about them, I’d probably still shop there.

    As it stands, I’m going to continue to support my local health food store and farms instead of shopping at WF – in other words, their coming here won’t alter my buying habits, and I wanted to explain why to those who have been waiting on baited breath for WF to come to Boise (and there are many, I can tell you). I’ve done this for years, and I know their prices will be better. I don’t want my local health food store going out of business because WF shows up and all of a sudden a lot of their customers start shopping there instead. I think people have a false sense of food prices, because I keep hearing from them that they can’t wait until WF comes to Boise and that the prices will be so much better than the Co-op. But that’s simply not true.

    And it’s an incredible shame that we have so many great, sustainable food producers here in our area, and certain people won’t buy from those sources, but they are happy to support WF which doesn’t carry a lot of local products in general – only a few from what I’ve ever seen…which are going to be 2-3 times more expensive. If WF comes here and their prices are reasonable, I will eat my words, I’m pretty certain that won’t happen, but I’m always more than willing to admit when I’m wrong.

    Unfortunately, it doesn’t change the fact that they are deceitful about GMOs and also grassfed meats as I outlined above. For some years I believed the butcher counter employees that the meat I was buying was grass-fed, but as it turns out, that’s not the case. I don’t trust a store that’s going to tell an untruth like that about the food I’m eating, and it makes me not want to shop there.

  • Lily
    February 23, 2012 - 12:01 PM | Permalink

    In California, people are gathering signatures to get “Mandatory Labeling of GMOs” put on the ballot. A lovely lady was gathering signatures in front of Napa, Ca Whole Foods last weekend. Unsurprisingly they tried to run her out of there. Don’t know how long she was able to stay and get signatures. But I was appalled (yet not surprised) that they would even harass someone who was gathering signatures on this subject. What was even more disheartening was that most people were walking past her (with the “don’t bother me” look), as she was saying loudly “Label GMO’s”. Ignorance abounds, even at a place who’s patrons you’d think would be swarming to sign that petition.

    I’ve been weaning off Whole Foods, and will hopefully be free of them by fruit season. I only go there now for frozen fruit grown in the USA and pastured chickens. I’m signing up for a meat CSA next week with our local farm and once fruit arrives at the farmers market, I will be buying it there and freezing it myself.

    I can find everything I need elsewhere, and will no longer give these lying crooks our hard earned money. I loathe Whole Foods.

    • February 23, 2012 - 2:15 PM | Permalink

      Lily – the story you tell is so sad, but somehow it matches up perfectly with their pseudo-anti-GMO campaign and then the fact that they are so unwilling to have a discussion about the products they are carrying which do contain GMOs. And there are many of those – they push soy a lot as a health food, which is terrible advice, and then there’s the problem with contamination of the supposed organic soy sold on the market. If there’s no way to prevent cross-contamination, then there really is no such thing as organic soy, but their products are full of it, as well as canola, soybean oil, and other GMO ingredients like hydrolyzed soy protein, textured vegetable soy protein, and many, many others.

      My whole point in writing this post was to raise awareness of the problems I mentioned here, and also to show that it is possible to survive not shopping at stores like WF if you have local farms and also local businesses which sell other products. I’m certain ours is not the only community like this, and I would hate to think that an uninformed person would just start shopping at WF thinking they had no other choices….because there almost always are other choices!

      Our community is fortunate in that we do have this going for us, and are so blessed. I realize not everyone has this situation, but it is in everyone’s best interest to work toward becoming independent of chain stores and above all else, buying from local farmers and supporting their local economies.

  • Michelle
    February 23, 2012 - 12:24 PM | Permalink

    I agree with Kate @ Modern Alternative Mama. We must be educated consumers every day and with every shopping trip. I am a fan of buy local but also believe there are reputable, organic brands that support the economy in our country (ex; internet sales for Tropical Traditions).

    Personally, I choose to use our money to support a wide range of ethical companies. I’m fairly convinced that if I went digging enough into ANY company, I could find something to annoy me. If the brands I believe in happen to be carried at Whole Foods at a reasonable price, I’m perfectly happy spending my money there.

    I’ve read that Organic Pastures has had a few incidences of raw milk outbreaks & children have been hospitalized. I personally applaud Whole Foods decision to not carry raw milk. I encourage you to read this blog for an alternative view. http://farmmuckraker.blogspot.com Very, very enlightening. I don’t know her personally & learned of her after the Rawesome raid. We have a local source for grass-fed, vat pasteurized whole milk and this works for my family.

    • February 23, 2012 - 2:00 PM | Permalink

      Michelle – When raw milk comes from a clean source, pathogens are almost completely unlikely. So the culprit is likely in these particular farmers’ practices, but it does not mean raw milk is bad for us to consume. That doesn’t mean there won’t be any E.coli or other bacteria there either, it just means that it won’t be a harmful strain. There are many strains of each bacteria at any given time, some are benign, and some are not. Humans always have strains of E.coli in their intestinal tracts, it’s just a fact of biology. But the pathogenic variety are allowed to become that way when there is not sufficient countering beneficial bacteria present. And that happens when farmers fall down on farming practices.

      Organic Pastures, who was selling their milk at WF has never had a pathogen in the history of their business, which is over 10 years. OP continues to sell their healthy, clean, raw milk to the public, has many supporters and customers, and is the largest raw dairy in the nation.

      Here’s the WAP rebuttal to the government’s finding that raw milk is more dangerous than pasteurized milk:

      http://www.westonaprice.org/press/cdc-cherry-picks-data-to-make-case-against-raw-milk

      There are many reasons why raw milk is superior when produced correctly – from retention of important nutrients such as enzymes, proteins, fats, and vitamins and minerals to probiotic value of the food, and why pasteurized milk isn’t necessarily safe from developing pathogens. Most sicknesses, deaths, and recalls of commercial milk happen AFTER the pasteurization process, and before bottling and distribution.

      It’s true, you could find something that would “annoy” you about any person or party if you looked hard and long enough. The problem remains that WF has committed so many transgressions that it’s way beyond annoying me at this point. They are no longer free to “make mistakes”. It’s one thing to “do the best you can despite all other circumstances” and I don’t chide anyone for doing that. But WF has blatantly gone against sustainable practices – examples include their anti-GMO campaign and then stocking GMOs on the shelf, the employee refusing to answer the questions from Alexis from Organic Consumer’s Association about whether GMO ingredients were used in various products shown on the video, claiming that their beef is grass-fed when USDA standards only require 30% grassfed (which isn’t grassfed at all). If they would just come out and say, “we carry GMO products” or “our beef isn’t 100% grassfed” at least it would be honest. But instead they allow consumers to think otherwise by things they say and do, or don’t do as in the case where the employee doesn’t answer the questions she was asked by a customer, who has the right to know what’s in her food.

      Another one of my biggest complaints is that I continually hear that our local health food store has really high prices, and yet consistently when I have shopped at WF in other cities (and I’ve shopped in many other WFs due to necessity when traveling), prices are so high, I end up spending at least double what I would at the health food store in my city. I get really tired of people threatening to shop at WF instead of the Co-op, as though that will be a saving grace. The truth is, they are in for quite a shock because most products are not cheaper, nor healthier. What’s more, the Co-op works tirelessly to support local farmers, food growers, and other merchants who produce quality products from our area. I know WF won’t do the same job as the Co-op in that respect. I’d be crazy to stop shopping at the Co-op and switch to WF when I have been shopping there for years, am satisfied with the prices, and I’m also doing something I feel very strongly about – supporting local merchants and farmers. As I mentioned, I also buy direct from local farmers for about 60 percent of my food.

      Someone on my FB page said they refuse to buy anything from China – and I totally agree with that. WF sells a lot of products from China, including a great deal of produce. If we continue as the trend has been to support other countries and economies, we might as well be pulling the plug on our own economy, farms, and businesses.

    • Susan
      February 27, 2012 - 9:46 AM | Permalink

      Michelle- I clicked over tot he link you provided, and although entertaining, I didn’t find it held much water. Not because it wasn’t filled with enough statistics, but because of the tone with which it was written. She acts like she just broke up with Sally Fallon Morrell and now that the relationship is over, every decision the blogger made was because “Sally told her to.” Don’t people like that just annoy you? They jump on a bandwagon when they are all in love, but then when there is a bump in the road or something changes, the person they were in love with made them think, behave or do the very thing they are so opposed to now that the relationship is over.

      Mark McAfee has had an excellent history with the safety of his milk and I have found, after much research myself, that those who say differently either work for the government, or easily persuaded by propaganda.

  • TJ Breeze
    February 23, 2012 - 1:02 PM | Permalink

    I want to back you up on your conviction to not support them for the many reasons that you stated, but mostly because they are deceitful in their practices. The actions of their CEO, John Mackey, are enough good reason for me to never support them. His lack of moral character as the supreme leader of that company says it all to me. I would be unable to shop there without questioning every purchase. Is this produce really local, is it really organic, is it really sustainable? Just because the handwritten sign above the produce say it is, does not make it true. If they are untruthful in their other business practices, they are likely to be untruthful in their marketing practices as well. Many people will just assume that they are everything they say they are, based solely on the assumption that they are a large well known “healthy” food store and therefor their every purchase there will be good for them.

    In our small city, we have an equally small health food store, which I try to support each week in some small purchase, regardless of the price, just because they are working hard to promote the area producers and provide us with choices. But I also will pay extra to support them because they are honest! When looking for a product that is difficult for them to get in, or that is impractical for them to stock, they tell me exactly that. And then they tell me where to shop so I can get it.

    Honesty and good moral character are important to me in all aspects of life, whether it is the people I choose to spend my time with or the companies I choose to do business with.

  • February 23, 2012 - 2:08 PM | Permalink

    TJ – Yes, everything WF does to me is suspect. I don’t mean to be so jaded, but I’ve had enough with their continued unethical practices, that of so many other large companies, and also the excuses made as to why they do it.

    So many people just let it go. And why? Why don’t people stand up for what’s right? Are we so afraid of what others will say and think of us that we’ve become void of morals and ethics, or is it that people just don’t care? Whatever the case, I can’t possibly condone it, and I found it extremely unnerving that so many people in Boise that I’ve talked to have threatened to not ever shop at the Co-op again due to their prices, but will be glad when WF comes here. It’s unthinkable! Yes, let’s just cow down to the big corporation and abandon our support of the smaller, locally-owned and operated business that actually does support small farmers from our area, provides jobs to people and benefits, and brings awareness to the community of our local food system…all because WF is bigger, has more products, and has somehow convinced many people that buying there isn’t more expensive than our smaller businesses and local farms. Wow, I just can’t figure out why this is what some people believe!

  • February 23, 2012 - 2:37 PM | Permalink

    In California, WF is letting us gather signatures in front or even inside their stores to get GMO Labeling. They are being even more supportive then some of our other “natural” food stores.
    So they’re an ally of mine!
    And they’re doing this: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=3239603347325&set=p.3239603347325&type=1&theater

    • February 23, 2012 - 5:39 PM | Permalink

      Tarah – I am so glad they are allowing you to gather signatures, but I also really feel strongly about the all or nothing attitude with GMOs. It’s just like when WF, Organic Valley, and Stonyfield Farm agreed to partial deregulation of GMOs, as if this was going to make everything alright. We cannot have co-existence of GMOs with organic. It just won’t work. Institute for Responsible Technology has already documented this over and over again, as well as other organizations like Organic Consumer’s Association and the Cornucopia Institute. Until everyone understands this, we’ll be in a holding pattern with GMOs. We do need to get laws changed to label, and then work on banning them altogether as has been done in Europe. I wouldn’t call any organization an ally unless they were on the same page as those who want to completely eradicate GMOs.

      On my FB page, someone said that if GMOs were not sold in their store, they’d go out of business. That’s likely true, but again, we are seeing corporations putting profit over health and the environment. Which would you choose if you were put at point blank? We need to support corporations and farmers who refuse to cow down to Monsanto and the GMO way, and until we do that, we are going to continue to see our food supply dominated by GMOs. Who’s going to step up to the plate and make a statement about GMOs needing to be abolished altogether? If big corporations don’t do this, the government won’t do it, and consumers just cower in the corner, we are sunk. But that’s not going to happen. Those of us who do want GMOs gone will work tirelessly to make sure that happens. I know I won’t stop until we’ve won. This is why I won’t shop at WF.

  • February 24, 2012 - 12:18 AM | Permalink

    When it come down to it, Whole Foods is a big company, and acts like one. Sometimes they do good things, like letting people gather the anti GMO signatures. But they do this to create goodwill, and are still selling foods full of GMOS. Every point you made is valid, Raine.

    But in addition to that, they were a part of the big sell out when they agreed to co exist with GMOS, and accept partial regulation, along with other so called organic food companies, just as you pointed out above. For that reason alone, they deserve to be boycotted. As does Organic Valley and Stoneyfiield Farm, which are also big companies.

    And what does partial regulation mean? Well, the USDA just announced that they want to cut the approval time for new GMO products in half, which means people and organizations will find it much harder to stop them. This might not have happened, if not for the big sell out.

  • February 24, 2012 - 11:00 AM | Permalink

    Stanley – I completely agree. As we’ve already stated, there is absolutely no room for partial deregulation nor co-existence of GMOs. No exceptions. And big companies who pander to government regulatory movement only makes this problem worse.

    Those companies have the budget to market to the public anything they want, and they do so with impunity. Then what happens is that grocery store shelves are filled with horrible crap that’s being marketed to consumers, who mostly only go by what the flashy, bright signs and labels read, and don’t bother to find out what’s really in their food. The trust consumers have in our food system is so blind. They’ve been completely brainwashed to trust them, and the health/medical authorities back them up, while small, sustainable farmers get the shaft over and over again.

    No, I won’t support a system that turns a blind eye to all the recalls, sicknesses, and dishonesty going on, while it systematically shuts down small farmers who care about the foods they produce for the health of their customers and community. And WF is a part of that.

  • RadiantLux
    February 24, 2012 - 6:27 PM | Permalink

    Whole Foods also has a vegan agenda. Jimmy Moore has written about it a few times. http://livinlavidalowcarb.com/blog/whole-foods-offers-customers-customized-nutrition-plan-pushing-a-vegan-agenda/10292

    I have visited the local Whole Foods in Schaumburg, IL. Most of the beef is not labeled grassfed, if you can believe it. They have organic meat and a small portion is grassfed. They are one of the few places I can buy Kerrygold grassfed butter. (someone please tell me why I can buy irish butter for less than $6/lb but my dairy farmers sell me butter for $11/lb – it can’t be because it is raw) I have recently purchased Target brand Archer Farms organic butter and it is bright yellow and tastes like grassfed. I want to follow up on the source. It seems like good butter.

    • February 24, 2012 - 9:37 PM | Permalink

      Radiant Lux – yes, WF does have a vegan/vegetarian agenda. I was just talking with someone about that yesterday on Facebook. I wrote a post about this in early 2010 (I have many bones to pick with WF).

      http://agriculturesociety.com/politics-and-food/whole-foods-health-starts-here-campaign-is-a-vegetarian-agenda/

      At the time, they recommended a plant-based, low-fat diet, and avoid red meat. Now they’ve revised their page a bit, but it’s basically the same thing. Now the “avoid meat” verbage is completely omitted, but it recommends eating “healthy” fats from avocados, nuts, and seeds. Um, yeah. If I ate those foods hoping to get enough nutrients from healthy fats, I’d probably starve to death pretty quick. It still says to adhere to a plant-based diet – which again, I’d starve on – and is completely remiss in recommending grass-fed meats, eggs, or poultry, game meats, raw dairy foods, healthy animal fats like lard, tallow, chicken, goose, duck (I know, I’m really dreaming here), olive oil, coconut oil, organ meats, seafood, and bone broths.

      I can’t comment on Archer Butter as I’ve never heard of it nor tasted it. I did a search for it and only came up with a link which compares the nutritional data required by the government such as fat, calories, cholesterol, etc. If I were to guess, it’s likely not grassfed. But then again, I’m very suspicious of corporate food, of most any kind.

      Kerrygold is the butter I buy as well. Kerrygold is an exception as far as big companies go, and I’m tremendously glad they are so mindful of their practices and selling a good product. And yes, I’ve always been puzzled as to the price differential between Irish butter and raw butter from small farms. However, Kerrygold is a large company and they have a streamlined system of producing butter, which has enabled them to keep their costs down. Small farmers don’t have the resources that a large company would have, and therefore have to charge more for their products. When I was buying raw butter (I had it shipped to me for awhile from a farm on the East Coast), it was incredible, but it was $9/lb, and grass-fed.

  • Johnny Lawrence
    February 24, 2012 - 8:20 PM | Permalink

    Organic Pastures Milk Recalled

    http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2011/11/quarantine-order-against-organic-pastures-recall-underway/

    And they are supposed to be the best place to get raw milk? I’d hate to see the mediocre places. Raw milk is dangerous. It has killed so many people.

  • February 24, 2012 - 9:25 PM | Permalink

    Johnny – In November of 2011, five CA children were treated in the hospital. Their parents reported that they drank raw milk from OP dairy.Yes, OP milk was recalled, but the recall happened before any testing was even performed. Finally, when testing was conducted multiple times, all samples were found to be negative for E. Coli O157:H7. OP has opened its doors since that time (over 2 months ago) and is still in business because their milk did not make those children sick. They were completely cleared of those allegations.

    To say that raw milk has killed so many people is wrong. Here’s a slide from the presentation at the Harvard Raw Milk Debate, which occurred this past week, where it showed the annual foodborne illness deaths since 1999. It shows 0 deaths from consuming raw milk. That’s ZERO.

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=342655275773495&set=a.106760166029675.4728.105700796135612&type=1&theater

    Here’s an informative link with information about how pasteurized milk makes people sick, but raw milk does not:

    http://www.cheeseslave.com/drinking-pasteurized-milk-is-dangerous/

    There are many other links I could post (I’ve got a mountain of research literature on the benefits of raw milk from healthy cows on pasture, which is completely different from commercial, factory farm milk or even raw milk produced by farmers using unsafe practices – and yes, there are some of those), but I don’t really need to. Those statistics on the links I posted pretty much sum everything up.

    I hope that is helpful. :)

  • March 1, 2012 - 3:40 PM | Permalink

    Enlightening article and comments. I had no idea that they could label meat grass fed if only 30% of it was actually grass fed. We do shop at Whole Foods occasionally because we have felt that their organic store brand was good value, but we may have to rethink where we are spending our money. Thanks for the heads up.

  • Ashley
    March 2, 2012 - 11:53 AM | Permalink

    Oh gosh, scary stuff that I didn’t know!! Especially the milk…..Organic Valley isn’t good for you? I’ve switched to organic since we tend to drink a lot of milk (baby steps!), and now I don’t know what is “safe”. Have you written a comparison post on milk brands or know of a good one? I prefer pasteurized, but with nutrients!!! :) Thanks!

  • March 3, 2012 - 9:26 AM | Permalink

    Ashley – I have not written a comparison post between brands of milk because primarily, I don’t trust nor buy name brands of most any food. I buy locally produced, raw milk from cows on pasture. OV is just one of the offenders in the cadre of brands violating health and sustainability.

    Unfortunately, the words “pasteurized” and “nutrients” don’t go together because you cannot have nutrients, enzymes, and probiotics intact in a product that’s gone through pasteurization. The reason pasteurization is required is because most dairies don’t keep safe practices and there is the illusion that pasteurization kills all “bad germs” in the food. If their practices were safe, they would not have to pasteurize. Pasteurization kills all bacteria – even the good, and it still leaves the milk vulnerable to bacteria like E. coli and Listeria remaining in the milk. When enzymes and nutrients are destroyed, the human body has difficulty digesting the food. The results are health issues and allergies like auto-immune problems, asthma, osteoporosis, weight gain, eczema, and many other issues.

    Organic Valley is actually worse than many of the other brands because they use Ultra-High Temperature pasteurization (UHT) which heats the milk up to about 260 degrees. Here’s my post on why raw milk is superior:

    http://agriculturesociety.com/politics-and-food/the-truth-about-raw-milk-part-i/

    • Searching
      January 3, 2013 - 8:09 PM | Permalink

      What is a person to do when the state bans the sale of raw dairy products? I cannot purchase raw milk. I cannot even get vat pasturized milk. All there is here is Horizon, Organic Valley or store brand organic UHT milk. I can occasionally find raw cheese at about $15 a pound. What is the alternative? Give up milk? So depressing.

  • Marion Kindig
    March 4, 2012 - 11:38 PM | Permalink

    Not only does Whole Foods sell GMO’s, there are numerous law suits outlining how they also sell milk as organic and it is not; vegetables grown by Chinese prisoners in filthy, polluted water and sold as organic; contaminated chopped meat causing an e-coli outbreak; carcinogenic soap; a fungus product sold as mushroom and causing illnesses; and unethical business practices attempting to drive competitors out of business, etc. I had an even worse experience than all of the foregoing. As a result of Whole Foods negligence, I slipped and fell on a puddle of water on Whole Foods walkway, causing a permanent injury. After a long time of ongoing medical bills, a law suit was filed. The first thing that Whole Foods did was to file a Third Party Complaint against an innocent Ethiopian man who is a contract employee and who speaks very little English trying to dump their liability on him. I was appalled that anyone could be so unethical. In the interrogatories I had to answer, I went out of my way to detail how the accident happened on the Whole Foods property and that the man had nothing to do with it. My interrogatories were altered and falsified to make it look like the Ethiopian man was responsible. When I would not go along with this fraud and took steps to further protect this person, Whole Foods embarked on a vicious, sadistic harassment campaign against my friends, doctors who had nothing whatsoever to do with the treatment of this injury, and me, with the harassment being so severe that I ended up in the hospital with significant ventricular arrhythmias. I had never before in my life had any heart problems. This is the most disgusting group of people I have ever met. Would you be interested in giving your input regarding Whole Foods in a possible documentary. If so, contact me at (301) 961-0260.

  • Kristy
    August 31, 2012 - 12:44 PM | Permalink

    I’d like to start a petition to change their name to “Whole Paycheck Foods,” for obvious reasons.

    • Rachel
      February 26, 2013 - 12:52 PM | Permalink

      and I bet you think the prices at the Co-op are just great.

      • February 26, 2013 - 2:10 PM | Permalink

        Wow, could you be a little bit more nasty? The Co-op’s prices *are* cheaper than WFs. This is from YEARS and YEARS, and when I say years I’m talking about 2 decades of shopping at WFs in over 10 other cities around the country when I’ve traveled which have consistently shown that those prices are always higher than what we have ever spent at the Co-op. Each time we shopped at WFs, we spent almost double what we’d spend for the same items we’d buy at the Co-op. I’ve done my homework, and what I’ve said here is perfectly true. The store prices at the WFs in Boise are pretty similar to what we have spent in other cities. I don’t think Boise’s store is much different than many other cities in terms of their markups, especially from what I’ve seen.

  • srveebvd
    November 22, 2012 - 6:24 PM | Permalink
  • Rachel
    February 26, 2013 - 12:51 PM | Permalink

    Boise Co-Op? Seriously?? … You don’t think they carry GMO products? (Like Kashi cereal) and you think they only sell local … WOW, you are IGNORANT.

    You don’t like Whole Foods. Ok, I get it … but you really lost the argument when you started singing the Co-Op praises. Wow, talk about being blinded!!

  • February 26, 2013 - 2:05 PM | Permalink

    Rachel – I never stated that the Co-op doesn’t carry products with GMOs in them. Of course they do, all stores do. However, the Co-op is locally owned and supports local businesses and farms to a much larger degree than any national chain would, including Whole Foods. Did you know that Whole Foods carries a large majority of products that are shipped in from miles and miles away – there was an expose done where they filmed people behind the scenes talking about all the products that were sourced from China. Here it is:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=JQ31Ljd9T_Y#!

    I’m sorry you believe I am ignorant for exposing this information, which is the truth. If you read my post, you can see that I have never made the statement that the Co-op or any other business sells nothing but organic, local, or sustainable, but that they make it a point to go out of their way to source a large amount of products from locally-owned businesses and farmers, and the big bonus is that they are not only locally-owned and operated, but employee-owned as well. Those are the distinct features I made in the post, and which were the reasons for not supporting WFs (among the others I listed).

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