Whole Foods Now in Bed with Monsanto

Whole Foods caved to the genetically modified crop giant, Monsanto.

“In a cleverly worded, but profoundly misleading email sent to its customers last week, Whole Foods Market, while proclaiming their support for organics and “seed purity,” gave the green light to USDA bureaucrats to approve the “conditional deregulation” of Monsanto’s genetically engineered, herbicide-resistant alfalfa.  Beyond the regulatory euphemism of “conditional deregulation,” this means that WFM and their colleagues are willing to go along with the massive planting of a chemical and energy-intensive GE perennial crop, alfalfa; guaranteed to spread its mutant genes and seeds across the nation; guaranteed to contaminate the alfalfa fed to organic animals; guaranteed to lead to massive poisoning of farm workers and destruction of the essential soil food web by the toxic herbicide, Roundup; and guaranteed to produce Roundup-resistant superweeds that will require even more deadly herbicides such as 2,4 D to be sprayed on millions of acres of alfalfa across the U.S.” (Ronnie Cummins, January 27, 2011. Whole Foods Sells Out to Monsanto: The Organic Elite Surrenders to Monsanto: What Now?)

Why is this important?

Monsanto has turned seeds into a patented, genetically modified commodity (Round-Up Ready seeds), which are designed to work with Round-Up fertilizers, tailored to the plants’ genetic make up. The fact that they are patented means a farmer who does not grow Monsanto crops, but whose fields are found to have stray Monsanto plants, can be sued by the agribusiness giant.

Monsanto also requires that all farmers who use its products sign an agreement that they will not save seeds and grow plants from them the next year. What? Since when does agriculture work like this?

The company often bullies farmers into signing agreements and threatens then with lawsuits. So a farmer is forced to buy seeds every year from the agribusiness giant. This severely limits biodiversity in our nation’s food crops. According to one source, Monsanto products account for 90% of the U.S. soybean crop.

Monsanto is moving into international food markets, threatening to become a monopoly that controls the world’s seed supply.

Read more about the ills of Monsanto here.

So either we grow our own, the way we want it, or agribusiness and “organic” partners like Whole Foods will grow it for us, their way.

I’ve blogged a link to Whole Foods’ side of the story here.

3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Kathryn on October 6, 2011 at 12:02 am

    Wow!!! alfalfa is a perennial crop that means it is not planted every year. The only time it is pollinated is when it is used for seed production. Regular Bees do not like to pollinate alfalfa because the flower boinks them in the head. So pollen does not travel like it does in some of the other crops. Not providing both sides of the story makes for emotional arguments and little facts. This is why science should be a REQUIRED subject in grade school and high school.

    “don’t confuse me with the facts”


    • Hi, Kathryn –

      Thanks for your contribution to my blog!

      In all fairness, unless you grow up taking vocational agriculture classes in high school, these facts about alfalfa are not something that would be learned in grade school and high school. I am an educational science writer and had to do some research on these things.

      Sources verify that alfalfa is a perennial as stated in the article (which does indeed mean it is not planted every year; rather it is a legume that regrows during the next season, for as long as 20 years), and that Western bees don’t pollinate it; rather they draw nectar from the side of the flower, avoiding getting hit and therefore not carrying pollen. I also read that alfalfa seed does not grow well in standing fields of already-existing alfalfa.

      I believe you are implying that alfalfa is a moot point, since it comes up year after year and that bees will not carrying GMO pollen to other alfalfa fields.

      However, I’d say that the author’s point is that Whole Foods, considered an upscale bastion of healthy food, has allowed a GMO to be included in its provider’s pipeline. Many people are leery of GMOs because we do not know how consuming modified genes – or passing them up the food chain – affects us in the long run. As for pollination, I’d say that cross-pollination of non-GMO and GMO varieties is still a possibility, thereby opening other farmers up to charges that they are illegally in possession of Monsanto crops.

      Thanks again for your comment and please correct me if I misunderstood any of this information.


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