Wednesday, July 25, 2012
By: J. D. Heyes
But did you know that an increasing amount of our “organic” food may be coming from China (which immediately throws into question the organic labeling)? That could include some of your favorites from Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods, which brands itself as the nation’s organic foods leader.
WJLA, the ABC News affiliate in Washington, D.C., reported recently that the “leading food retailer selling the image that local and organic is better for the environment and better for you,” but that may not be the product consumers are getting.
At more than 175 stores nationwide, Whole Foods promotes a homegrown concept, but, according to WJLA’s investigation, many of the supermarket chain’s goods are marked “Product of China.”
What’s wrong with that? Well; for one, importing food from China is anathema to Whole Foods’ concept of “locally grown” and “organic.” For another, China’s agricultural development regulations are nowhere near as stringent as they are in the U.S. And finally, despite Whole Foods’ assurances to the contrary, how is a consumer – or the company, for that matter – to know whether all of its Chinese-grown products are indeed pesticide-free?
Produces identified by the WJLA investigation marked as a “Product of China” included spinach, sugar snap peas and, ironically enough, a “California Blend” of broccoli, carrots and cauliflower – all under Whole Foods’ “365 Organic” brand label. (Editor’s note: Since the initial March 2012 investigative report by WJLA, Whole Food’s “California Blend” of vegetables are now being grown again in the U.S.)