Dear Whole Foods,
We really do appreciate your providing us with healthy, USDA organic, 100% grass fed, pesticide-free, gluten-free, soy free, dairy free, vegan, and whatever other types of foods consumers need to survive these days. We care deeply about the food we feed ourselves and our family and we rely on the clear and honest product labeling you provide us in order to make informed food shopping decisions. Labeling, and having the ability to make informed decisions is more important than ever, especially for those of us with food allergies, certain health conditions that require special diets, dietary decisions based on religious or ethical concerns, or those of us who simply want to feed our families the healthiest food possible.
But where you’ve failed us is stopping short of allowing us to choose between non-genetically engineered (GE) products and those that contain GE ingredients. We don’t trust that GE products are safe. No studies are done on these products to prove their safety and in fact we are finding animal studies to show they are dangerous to our health and the environment. GE toxins are being found in our bloodstream and those of our unborn children. The American Academy of Environmental Medicine released a policy paper in 2009 urging all doctors to prescribe non-GMO diets for everyone, stating that animal studies show that GE food is linked to infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, organ damage, and gastrointestinal problems. They called for a moratorium on GMOs, and mandatory labeling. Awareness of their danger is growing everyday. Already opinion polls have shown that 95% of Americans want labeling of genetically modified food.
So why has Whole Foods chosen not to label their GE ingredients? We wonder out loud if the cozy relationship between the CEO of Whole Foods, John Mackey and Tom Vilisak, the Agriculture Secretary affects the decisions you make. Vilisak, a staunch supporter of GE companies, believes in the co-existence of GE crops at the expense of the contamination of our natural food supply. The truth is Whole Foods (WF) has power in the marketplace. WF can pressure their vendors to label their GE ingredients or even transition to non-GE ingredients if they choose to do so. WF is well aware that the market for organic food has gone up dramatically due to consumer’s health concerns, much of which is associated with their desire to avoid eating GE foods.
As a result of your reluctance to label these GE products activists have taken matters into their own hands with educating the public, creating non-GMO activist groups, having rallies around the country to bring awareness to the issue or even producing dramatic “food dumps” in front of your stores which have resulted in activists being jailed and negative attention toward Whole Foods. How much more do we have to do to get you to realize that we are serious about this labeling issue? How many more of our activists need to be jailed before you respond to our pleas? We aren’t backing down and we have the momentum on our side. It’s only a matter of time before most Americans wake up to the detrimental effects of GE toxins in our food supply and in our bodies. Unfortunately, pleas to label GE products at Whole Foods, so far, have fallen on deaf ears.
Today we stand at a threshold of change demanded by your customers. The choices you have made so far come at the expense of the respect and trust of the community and families who once comfortably relied on Whole Foods Market to provide them with safe, clean food. Is this really worth losing the faith of the American people? We really need you. You really need us. Labeling is a win-win for all of us. The question remains; will Whole Foods label the GE ingredients in the products carried in their store or better yet, transition to non-GE ingredients? We are eagerly awaiting and watching your response.