Organic Consumers Association

Campaigning for health, justice, sustainability, peace, and democracy

Open Letters to Whole Foods Market from Some of Their Customers

From Jacqueline:

A letter to Whole Foods Market:

Dear Whole Foods,

I read your article entitled "Urgent Action Needed to Support Organics and Non-GE Crops" and subsequently the one on this page. I'm one of the people who question why you're endorsing the coexistence option. I don't think that other consumer groups have misunderstood you as you believe. I think they understand you and all other so called organic organizations who support coexistence all too well. I'm not even sure where to begin or which article to refer to. Since they're both very similar and state the same issues how about a comment on your statement "We supported a path of coexistence, not because it's a perfect path, but because it's the only viable path that would ensure our ongoing ability to provide non-GMO foods" Really? The only viable path? How about YOUR only viable path. Those of us who are willing to go further than Whole Foods can find other paths that don't require throwing in the towel like Whole Foods has done.

"We did not believe that a complete ban of GE alfalfa or any crop is an option that the USDA would even consider supporting, nor was it even an option" Of course the USDA wouldn't consider the option of a complete ban, it doesn't make them any money. But it is an option YOU should have considered, whether you're at the table or not.

Here's another nugget I'd like to address: "Our options were to have a seat at the table (and support coexistence) or to not be represented at all" Says who?! Since when do Americans not have an option to be represented? Throughout history protesters have rarely had "a seat at the table". So they created their own table. Out on the streets, having their voices heard by the masses.

And Finally: "This does not mean that we have anything to do with big biotech or that we support their agenda" But you don't realize that that's exactly what it means. You're willing to give in just to have a seat at THEIR table.

In closing, I'm just floored that after your decision to support "the USDA's historic approach considering deregulation with conditions" (as you state in your original article) you had the nerve to entitle that article "Urgent Action Needed to Support Organics and Non-GE Crops", boasting your integrity and stating how angry you are and how fervently you believe "farmers have a right to grow foods without fear of contamination from others' GE crops". You should have just done the decent thing: bowed your heads in shame, called the article "We Give In." and stated your reasons for giving in at the beginning of the article and be done with it. Not save your reasoning for several paragraphs into the article and then have the audacity to ask your loyal customers (did you ask or demand with exclamation points?) to contact our government and tell them that "True COEXISTENCE is a must". Thank you, but no, thank you. I will not be pressured into coexisting with a monster company like Monsanto or its likeness. When I saw Whole Foods Markets cropping up everywhere, with larger and larger stores I was excited. I thought, finally! more natural and organic foods that are close by and in bigger quantities and selections! But it wasn't lost on me that getting "bigger" for a company with integrity, like Whole Foods, can be a dangerous thing. Are they going to get so big that they go the way all other companies do when they expand? Are they going to eventually give in to the pressure of Big Pharma, Big Bio and Big Agro? Well, I guess it did happen. Only sooner than I would have expected. Shame on you, Whole Foods and all the other organic organizations who've given in. I guess "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" will be your new mantra. Or should I say, "If you can't beat 'em, regulate them POORLY so that inevitably they'll contaminate all organics seeds, just as they planned".

Signed, A Once Loyal Customer

Don't Stock IT!:

Dear Whole Foods,

Prove that you DO NOT Support GMO Foods! Don't Label it in your store! JUST Don't SELL IT!

As your Customers.. We Pay you to give us Healthy Products.... WE Insist that you do not carry any food products that have any traces of GMO.

You really want to fight GMO stop buying it, and selling it to us... Label or no Label!

And you could have Fought, but instead you capitulated to the share holders and bottom line!

you forget that we the people have the power, if we don't don't exist.

Lets see if you post this on your board!

Disappointed, and betrayed!

January 29th, 2011 at 11:52 am


You were given two horrible choices, I get it. What you seem to be saying is hey, GE alfalfa has been approved, we just need to make it as unpleasant as possible. But "coexistence" shouldn't be a long-term solution. Get back in the fight.

January 28th, 2011 at 6:11 pm

Keith :

sellouts! we are watching you

January 28th, 2011 at 6:18 pm


The usda doesn't care. They got the head corporation of Monsanto working in the usda as well as fda and epa. They're all a bunch of crooked liars trying to make their big bucks. They should be held responsible for making America fat, with their GE foods they've changed human dna.

January 28th, 2011 at 6:22 pm


I find two things dissapointing: 1) the lack of comments on this  statement released by Whole Foods from its many consumers, unless WFM is deleting them.and 2) the fact that as a company dedicated to the organic label, you have succumbed to the USDA's decision without any fight whatsoever.

You did write, "Many people have asked us why we endorsed the coexistence option rather than an outright ban on GE alfalfa. That was never an option in Washington!  The USDA presented the industry with only two options." This is a sorry excuse. Companies such as yours, with a highly dedicated consumer base, as well as being an entity that succeeds off the organic model, have a lot of say in these matters. the USDA never took Organics seriously until Wal-Mart (of all companies) decided to listen to what the market wanted and include Organic products in its stores. After that the USDA saw that the Organic movement was growing, and had to take action. You are where you are because of the customers that led you there, customers who (as far as they KNOW), are eating all organic.thats what they are PAYING FOR, and you have bowed to bad governement regulation that then results in the deception of your customers. On another note, a well-run business would reflect what its customers wanted in its actions with such news. If you truly wanted to support your clientele who even more importantly support YOU, you would stand up against the USDA and refuse any products using GMOs to be put on your shelves. This would hurt your clientele, who would then demand change, which would result in the USDA rethinking its actions. Demand dictates Supply..respect this logic and respect your customers.

January 28th, 2011 at 6:28 pm

Chef Debbi: 

Even though a total ban was not an option, you still should have stood behind your no-gmo policy. How can you state that you will continue to fight for 'the protection of non-gmo foods' when you couldn't fight for it with this new policy whether or not it was not an option. A cop out if you ask me. I won't support WFM after this, sorry.

January 28th, 2011 at 6:33 pm


The ruling is disappointing. The most concerning issue is we don't know what this will do to future generations.

January 28th, 2011 at 6:39 pm


We won't be shopping here anymore until we see major changes in your stand with GMO organizations.

We have only one take a stand for our children's future.

January 28th, 2011 at 8:21 pm


Hmm, I wonder how big the labeling will be.

I can go to any other grocer and search for organic food and read every label, but with two kids in tow I have found it more convenient to go to Whole Foods and just shop. Now I may have to search and read labels at Whole Foods as well.

I hope the labels are clear, on the front and hopefully in a "GE contaminated" aisle.

January 28th, 2011 at 8:34 pm

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