What ‘non-organic’ meant at Whole Foods


Swamp Rabbit was complaining about the weather, a pointless and self-defeating exercise. “This here winter is like a roller coaster ride, with temps up to fifty-something one week and a blizzard the next. How we gonna eat if you can’t get out the swamp to rob no supermarkets? Ain’t nothin’ but cold cuts in this here shack, and they’s even worse than wieners.”

“Things are tough all over,” I said, trying to warm up by the wood stove. Then I grabbed the laptop and read for him the headline from a PRWatch story — “Whole Foods Agrees to Stop Selling Produce Grown in Sewage Sludge” — and some of the text:

The Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) broke the story that the $12.9 billion-a-year natural and organic foods retailer Whole Foods Market had a policy of “don’t ask, don’t tell” when it comes to “conventional” — or non-organic — produce being grown in fields spread with sewage sludge, euphemistically called “biosolids.” Certified organic produce cannot be fertilized with sewage sludge, which is the industrial and hospital waste and human excrement flushed down the drains and later — in some cases — spread on some crops.

Since this story broke, nearly 8,000 activists and PRWatch readers have sent emails to Whole Foods executives asking the company to require its suppliers to disclose this information and to label produce grown in sewage sludge so that customers can make informed decisions.

Mario Ciasulli, a semi-retired engineer and home cook living in North Carolina whom CMD profiled in December 2012, blew the whistle on Whole Foods’ don’t-ask, don’t-tell policy. As soon as he found out that shopping at Whole Foods was no protection against this potential contamination unless he could afford to buy only certified organic produce, he worked extensively to engage Whole Foods on this issue…

“You mean they was growin’ my carrots in hospital doo-doo?” Swamp Rabbit said.

I explained to him that it’s the same all over. You don’t even want to know where your food comes from unless you’re well off enough to buy ‘certified organic’ at farmers’ markets or places like Whole Foods, which is run by ultra-rich right-wing vegan John Mackey and frequented by many liberals who probably didn’t know that “non-organic” or “conventional” produce at Whole Foods often was “grown in sewage sludge.”

“Damn,” the rodent said. “Make sure you steal organic this time. And if you don’t, don’t tell me.”

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One Response to What ‘non-organic’ meant at Whole Foods

  1. Dugutigui says:

    Going green doesn’t start with doing green acts —it starts with a shift in consciousness. If you want to eat organic, better grow it yourself … 🙂

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