Categorized | Food and Ag

Whole Foods: Not So Organic After All?

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The following is a short video about the fresh produce sold at Whole Foods:


6 Responses to “Whole Foods: Not So Organic After All?”

  1. Burl Finkelstein says:

    After making many trips to China and seeing that they use every inch of land for farming I would not buy any Chinese food products in the US. It is common to see the land around heavy industry used as a farm in a country where polution is rampant.
    The US holds its producers to strict rules on food purity. The we shoot the rules in the Head by buying food from the most poluted country in the workd to save the cost of regulation.

    • Tom T. says:

      Burt, you have hit on a real important point here. The standards are important and when the standards are not being enforced, they really don’t matter. We are being gamed and there is no enforcement to prevent this gaming. I make the analogy to students in a classroom. With the best standards the students are working and learning. With poor standards, those who can get away with cheating will reduce those standards. That is what is happening with much of our trade with China. The reduction of real standards has real costs.

      I will share one example. I worked hard on my place to insulate and prevent air infiltration. I bought a product that goes around the doors to stop that air infiltration. It had a bit of rubber on it so that when the door shut, it pressed upon that rubber piece. The rubber was so ill suited for the job that in really cold weather the rubber got real hard and we could not shut the doors. What looked like a good product turned out to be so substandard as to not work. Of course it was a piece that looked good but for its primary purpose it was pretty useless. This is a result of sub standard materials for the job. The product looked good in the store but its inefficiencies were apparent in actual use. The merchant went with what looked good and was probably real cheap for them to buy and make a profit margin on but it was sub standard. Your example was one on “organic” standards which was being gamed. A label of “organic” doesn’t mean “organic” unless the standards are enforced. Cheap products that look like they work (I would have paid more for something that actually worked) but that information was not provided at the point of purchase and I only realized it way after I purchased it.

      My father was in rubber and plastics manufacturing all his life (now retired) but we do not have the same standards today as we had then. Corporations went with the lowest cost to out compete others but the standards were not enforced. It has gotten ridiculous and costs the U. S. consumers a lot in going to these lower cost goods that don’t work.

      In a market economy these things would be weeded out with good information. We don’t have that good information or standards anymore, it seems, in the products we are offered. I could give the same example on cat food or dog food. Now I have to really brand shop on those items to retain the standards just so my pets don’t throw up pet food that smells more like cereal than actual pet food.


  2. Brian says:

    This video is not about “fresh produce sold at Whole Foods”. All products featured in this video are frozen vegetables.

  3. Libba Letton says:

    Hi, Libba Letton from Whole Foods Market here. The video above comes from a misleading and inaccurate news story that ran in May 2008. For a point-by-point rebuttal of the piece, see here:

    Since the summer of 2010, we the only Whole Foods Market 365 Everyday Value frozen vegetables from China are frozen edamame (shelled and unshelled, organic and conventional). We change sourcing on our other products from China because of quality or food safety concerns. Our move to other sources was a business decision. We were simply able to find several suppliers in other countries, including the U.S., that offered the same or better quality at better prices. We are still selling bulk products and branded products that may come from China.

    We have always had great confidence in our vendor partners in China, and we have taken great steps to verify that those suppliers have the same level of integrity and commitment to quality as the rest of our partners across the world. For more:

  4. Jim Schollaert says:

    Libba: Very sorry to hear that Whole Foods is still importing bulk food items from China. You have to be very naive to have “great confidence in our vendor partners in China”. Let me share an anecdotal encounter I had last summer. A CHinese-American woman from Cleveland who makes a living as a food broker arranging the import of foodstuffs from China told me that she personally would never buy or eat anything she arranges for others to import from China. The production process in China has so little integrity that there is no way you can check the integrity of the all of the inputs to the production, from fertilizer to pollutants to you-name-it. Let alone the rampant dishonesty that runs throughout the system. Please wake up.

    As a Whole Foods customer, I am very disappointed and will be much more circumspect shopping there and will certainly avoid anything in bulk and anything not clearly and convincingly labeled with country-of-origin labeling.

  5. Marco Lauer says:

    Fresh veggies are better for us anyway. And while Whole Foods is far from perfect, they’re the perfect store for me to buy the freshest and widest selection of fresh veggies. I drive past a Shur Fine, Weis Markets and Giant Food Store within 10 minutes of my home and continue at least another 40 minutes to Whole Foods to buy Lady Moon Farms organic kale, tomatoes, cucumbers and zucchini.

    All the other stores mentioned above only pay lip service to organic produce. And while all that driving isn’t the best idea, I make up for the extra fossil fuels burned on my trips by using 100% PCW toilet paper and paper towels in my home and 100% PCW copy paper in my business.

    A Whole Foods in Lancaster County PA would be a smart move….you’ve got my COMPLETE support! Oh, and the Whole Foods selection of cheeses….and the corn bread….and the bacon—-NOW I’m hungry!


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