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Rewind: Whole Foods Market Caves to Monsanto

April 28, 2011

I used to shop at Whole Foods Market, but quite frankly, I thought they were overpriced and that was before Great Recession. Today I read an article from this past January and now I have one more reason to not shop at WFM – Monsanto. Plus this:

Whole Foods and UNFI are maximizing their profits by selling quasi-natural products at premium organic prices. Organic consumers are increasingly left without certified organic choices while genuine organic farmers and ranchers continue to lose market share to “natural” imposters. It’s no wonder that less than 1% of American farmland is certified organic, while well-intentioned but misled consumers have boosted organic and “natural” purchases to $80 billion annually-approximately 12% of all grocery store sales.

PR Watch reports: After 12 years of battling to stop Monsanto’s genetically-engineered (GE) crops from contaminating the nation’s organic farmland, the biggest retailers of “natural” and “organic” foods in the U.S., including Whole Foods Market (WFM), Organic Valley and Stonyfield Farm, have agreed to stop opposing mass commercialization of GE crops, like Monsanto’s controversial Roundup Ready alfalfa. In exchange for dropping their opposition, WFM has asking for “compensation” to be paid to organic farmers for “any losses related to the contamination of his crop.”

Under current laws, Genetically-Modified Organisms (GMOs) are not subject to any pre-market safety testing or labeling. WFM is abandoning its fight with biotech companies in part because two thirds of the products they sell are not certified organic anyway, but are really conventional, chemical-intensive and foods that may contain GMOs and that they market as “natural” despite this. Most consumers don’t know the difference between “natural” and “certified organic” products. “Natural” products can come from crops and animals fed nutrients containing GMOs. “Certified Organic” products are GMO-free. WFM and their main distributor, United Natural Foods, maximize profits by selling products labeled “natural” at premium organic prices.

Read Entire source article here from CounterPunch, click here

Related on Monsanto:
Monsanto partially funds the anti-organic Center for Global Food Issues, a project of the right-wing Hudson Institute. It is run by Dennis Avery and his son Alex Avery. Here find the latest on Hudson’s anti-environmental and pro-biotech spinmeister Michael Fumento, and his secretly taking money (at least $60,000) from Monsanto.

In 1998 Dennis wrote an article that began “‘According to recent data compiled by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), people who eat organic and natural foods are eight times as likely as the rest of the population to be attacked by a deadly new strain of E. coli bacteria (0157:H7)’. However, according to Robert Tauxe, M.D., chief of the food borne and diarrheal diseases branch of the CDC, there is no such data on organic food production in existence at their centers and he says Avery’s claims are ‘absolutely not true.'” . Following in his father’s steps Alex distorted a study from the Journal of Food Protection that showed that organic food does not contain more pathogens than conventionally grown, contrary to Avery’s claims.

And this:

“As interviews and reams of court documents reveal, Monsanto relies on a shadowy army of private investigators and agents in the American heartland to strike fear into farm country. They fan out into fields and farm towns, where they secretly videotape and photograph farmers, store owners, and co-ops; infiltrate community meetings; and gather information from informants about farming activities. Farmers say that some Monsanto agents pretend to be surveyors. Others confront farmers on their land and try to pressure them to sign papers giving Monsanto access to their private records. Farmers call them the ‘seed police’ and use words such as ‘Gestapo’ and ‘Mafia’ to describe their tactics” Monsanto’s Harvest of Fear.

Monsanto has sued many a farmer when their GM crops have turned up on the farmer’s fields even though the farmers say they never planted them. Farmers who get into the Roundup-Ready (RR) System lose their independence, and are obliged to sign a lengthy and restrictive agreement. What’s more Monsanto contracts out to private investigation firms like Pinkerton, to regularly check up on their farmers (and independent, non-GM farmers as well), taking samples unannounced from their fields to make sure they are not in violation. It also maintains a hotline so farmers can turn in their neighbors for suspected violations.

According to Monsanto vs. U.S. Farmers Monsanto pursues hundreds of new investigative leads a year, 600 in 2003 for example, aimed at farmers.

“The odds are clearly stacked against the farmer: Monsanto has an annual budget of $10 million dollars and a staff of 75 devoted solely to investigating and prosecuting farmers. The largest recorded judgment made thus far in favor of Monsanto as a result of a farmer lawsuit is $3,052,800.00. Total recorded judgments granted to Monsanto for lawsuits amount to $15,253,602.82. Farmers have paid a mean of $412,259.54 for cases with recorded judgments”.

Courtesy of Sourcewatch.org

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