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Whole Foods Market is Not Immune to Food Label Discrepancies

Posted May 22 2010 12:00am

Remember when food markets were local and you knew and trusted the grocer?  Times have changed.  Investigating food labels is a must to see past marketing schemes and nutrition misinformation. It is not enough to blindly trust a grocer that aspires to “Selling the Highest Quality Natural & Organic Products.” Whole Foods Market’s tag line makes that exact claim.  At a glance, it may seem true that Whole Foods abides by such standards, but simply flipping over a frozen food package reveals startling facts.

More on that in a moment.

I won’t deny it…I looove going to Whole Foods to gather specialty ingredients, to peruse the products, and to observe inspiring food creations.  It’s near heaven for a vegan foodie such as my self, and I’ll continue to use them as a food supplier.  Whole Foods creates a pleasant shopping experience and promotes healthy living.  A few examples:

  • Delivering organic, local, sustainable food options that support nearby farms
  • Making hard-to-find alternative ingredients accessible, especially for special diets, such as gluten-free needs
  • Educating employees and the public about the powerful health-promoting effects of nutrient dense plant foods by implementing Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s ANDI scoring system
  • Emphasizing environment-friendly practices
  • Supporting food banks, sponsoring neighborhood events, and donating to local non-profit groups

Despite its high prices, Whole Foods has maintained a relatively good reputation and continues to grow (it has 270 stores worldwide, and only began in 1980).  However, as a business grows new challenges arise, and Whole Foods is not immune to profit-seeking strategies.  The following clip is a glimpse of how a business, and label, can easily deceive the public.  It exposes the common practice of marketing schemes, which capitalize on poorly monitored food labeling regulations hidden among food products – those that aren’t fresh from the farm.

As you can see, it is crucial to get in the habit of reading packages to understand where your food is coming from.  Fresh and local is always best.  But the point here is not to go on strike against Whole Foods – this stuff happens everywhere.  My point is to be aware that this occurs, and to inspire you to become an educated consumer.

I recently heard an excellent lecture from Jeff Novick, RD while completing a plant based nutrition certification .  I look forward to outlining useful label reading guidelines in a future post, in addition to multiple discussions on organics.  In the meantime, flip that package over and read where your food is shipped from.  Then, decide if it is a desirable product – don’t just settle for any company’s word.

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