My Take on the Organic Spies Video About Whole Foods
I know that this reaction is coming very late but for the last two weeks, I had been working around the clock planning our GMO-labeling fundraiser in NYC and did not have time to watch the video.
With people constantly asking for my opinion on the Whole Foods/GMO controversy and with the event finally over, I saw the Organic Spies video in its entirety last night and here is my reaction.
The fact that Whole Foods sells GMOs is nothing new to me. In the past, I have had very specific conversations with the people in PR at Whole Foods about this issue, and they told me point blank “Yes, we sell products that have GMOs in them.”
As the Organic Spies video showed, however, not all employees realize this and many of them are giving out incorrect information about whether Whole Foods sells GMOs or not.
This is unacceptable. Employees cannot be giving out the wrong information, especially when it comes to GMOs.
Yet, it is something that the company has since acknowledged.
A.C. Gallo, President and Chief Operating Officer of Whole Foods, said in a blog post that “Some products in our stores DO contain GMOs” and that “we need to do a better job of making sure our Team Members understand this so they can provide customers with the facts.”
He also went on to say that “I hope you don’t believe the claims that Whole Foods Market is coaching its Team Members to give false information to its customers, because it’s completely untrue. The idea goes directly against who we are as a company – for years, we’ve worked hard to provide as much information as possible about our products to our customers.”
The Organic Spies video insinuates that Whole Foods is coaching its people to give out false information, and I find this to be preposterous.
While I don’t know A.C. Gallo personally, I do know Walter Robb, Co-CEO of Whole Foods, and I find him to be an individual of great integrity and someone who would never allow this to happen.
I have no doubt that this issue about employees being properly informed about GMOs is something that is being addressed internally and in a very serious way.
While Whole Foods does sell products with GMOs, all of its 365 Everyday Value products are either Non-GMO Verified or are in the verification process.
Did Whole Foods endorse Proposition 37? Yes.
Did Whole Foods help promote our GMO-labeling fundraiser in NYC to its 24,000 followers on Twitter? Yes. Here is one example and here is another.
Has Whole Foods made a financial contribution to CA Right to Know? No, and they’re not the only one who hasn’t done so.
I have two closing thoughts.
1) Just like the rest of us, Whole Foods makes mistakes and is by no means perfect.
Yet, the importance of Whole Foods to the organic food industry can never be underestimated, and the company’s positive contributions to consumers and to society are easily and often overlooked.
2) If we want to fight back against GMOs and have Whole Foods and other supermarkets stop selling them, it is quite simple – we have to stop buying these products.
The number that has been talked about is 5%. If we can cause a decrease in sales by 5% of a specific GMO-food product, then the manufacturer would strongly consider switching to non-GMO ingredients.
Nothing is more powerful than voting with our dollars, and we need to start using capitalism to enact the change that we want to see in the world.
Our protests to politicians about GMOs are falling on deaf ears, so it is time we get serious and take our fight to the cash register.
Because if we do, you can be guaranteed that companies will be listening.