I received an email invitation to take a survey from Whole Foods Market. I was happy to do it, and thereby discovered the Whole Foods Market forums. So I happily popped in to see what was happening, and discovered a discussion started in late November 2008, Organic Produce from China?, in which a forum member states:

Imagine my surprise when preparing a dish for Thanksgiving when I discovered that the Whole Foods "365 Organic Chopped Spinach" was labeled "A Product of China". The front of the package is also labeled "USDA ORGANIC". I had a conversation with several Whole Foods employees at the Walnut Creek store, all of which were puzzled and unaware that the spinach was from China. Due to work I spend a lot of time in mainland China (Shanghai, Bejing, Guangzhaou), and like many I am both saddened and shocked by the poor environmental regulation, oversight or even a modicum of real concern about the environment and it’s impact on its citizens.

More worrying yet is the comment:

My wife and I bought the "California medley" which has caulflower and other veggies, but after we had eaten some of it we also were shocked to see it was "product of China."

Since products from China have been a serious concern, as covered in our article, Questioning Chinese Imports, and since we don’t expect Whole Foods to be carrying all-organic-all-the-time, I’d say that it’s time to look a little closer at the labels.

We do have some of the Whole Foods 365 brand frozen vegetables. Most of ours were labeled "Product of USA". However, some did not label the origin of the vegetables — which, given the above discussion, does not give me a warm and fuzzy feeling.

Given the sheer number of problems detailed in my Questioning Chinese Imports article — which is a lengthy listing of articles and publications by such organizations as the FDA and the New York Times — and given that we don’t have the time or resources to research everything that comes into the country from China, we’d vowed to stay away from Chinese products, and thought we were doing a good job of it.

I am hoping that Whole Foods will rethink this approach. We shop there quite a lot and have done so for the past twenty plus years (starting with Mrs. Gooch’s before it was acquired by Whole Foods). We’re aware that not all items on offer are organic, and are willing to put in the time to learn what we can and to inspect labels closely. We know that the label "natural" doesn’t mean much legally; after all, dirt and the stuff that oil rigs pump and ships sometimes dump into oceans is "natural".

However, I believe this goes beyond what organic consumers can reasonably expect and should expect.

Meanwhile, we are shopping more at Lassen’s. Stay tuned for our Lassen’s article.

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39 Comments for "Whole Foods Market: California by way of China?"

  1. Hans

    It is encouraging to see this issue being discussed more frequently. I wrote about this (Frozen Organic Vegetables from China) and included a list of frozen “organic” vegetables at several supermarket chains, including Whole Foods. The amount coming from China is shocking. The list is a couple years old, but I am in the process of gathering information and will update it shortly.

    I like your site and thank you for the information.

  2. Diane Vigil

    Thanks, Hans — I like your site, too. I corrected your link, but I’d love to see the list. Where might we find it?

  3. Hans

    The list is actually in another post (Frozen Organic Research). Click on the link ‘Store Frozen Organic Data.’ Sorry about the mix-up.

  4. Diane Vigil

    Thanks. (Fixed your link again. Apparently, if you add a link but surround it immediately with typed characters, it doesn’t turn into a clickable link.)

  5. Anna

    I hardly spend any time scrutinizing the foods I buy anymore, yet I make it priority not to unknowingly purchase food from China or other distance places.

    How do I get away with this? I don\’t buy as much food with packaging and labels, that\’s how. Bagged greens and pre-prepped vegetable medleys? Rarely on my table anymore; there\’s too many downsides to offset the convenience. My strategy of seasonal, local food sourcing reduces time needed to read labels (& shopping time); reduces worries about industrial contamination, adulteration, and pathogens, or dubious sources; as well as reduces wastes and energy consumption.

    Actually, I hardly buy any any produce from a store anymore (meat and eggs, too). Most of my family\’s produce comes from within our county, through a Community Supported Agriculture box subscription program. A CSA farm share box is cheaper than buying out-of-season produce (conventional or organic), long distance produce from Whole Foods, etc., and it\’s better for our local economy, not to mention better eating. Yes, I have to wash the lettuce and do a bit more food prep (not as much as one might think, though), but the benefits and peace of mind are well worth it.

    Granted, I live in So California, where the mild climate makes year-round CSAs possible, but even in locations with shorter growing seasons, CSAs can supply fresh organic seasonal, local produce for a substantial part of the year (cold storage of some foods can extend the programs, too).

    An easy way to find out if there are CSAs in your area is through the zip code search function on LocalHarvestorg/csa (replace the spaces and the (dot) with a .). Then you can collect your share of the bounty weekly (or biweekly), and spend time instead making great worry-free meals rather than scrutinizing labels.

  6. Diane Vigil

    Anna, thank you so much for this information. I hadn’t looked there, and we are of course shopping as carefully as we can (but the prices are going through the roof — and we’re also in L.A.). I’ll take a look at the Local Harvest site.

  7. Jewell Evans

    When I saw a news investigation on t.v. that some of Whole Foods frozen veges were from China, I was surprised, and it it didn\’t make me feel very good considering it was bad enough more of our products are made in China, but to consume something from a place that has tainted products from building supplies (to Katrina victims) to soy milk, I don\’t think the USA has very good quality control on food items.

    I have nothing against China, BUT when it comes to something going into my mouth or my skin, I won\’t buy. Everything you buy now is so low quality, but you pay the same price as if it was made here. Nothing you buy last long. I have thrown out lotions and other products from people as gifts during Christmas when I started reading where it was made and saw \"Made in China\".

    I\’m sorry. I have to support local farms, food that I eat either frozen or fresh – it has to be grown here IN THE USA. That includes seafood also. I\’m very into organic, but I was shocked to see Bumble Bee tuna was packaged in Thailand! Folks, you better read your labels and not for just the nutritional facts!

  8. Diane Vigil

    Jewell, thank you for your input. You have a point that the U.S. does not seem to have good quality control on food items.

    A few years ago, an organic farmer here in the U.S. told me that the types of hoops they have to jump through in order to pass the organic inspections can be pretty stiff (although he also said that it depended upon the inspector).

    Mind you, as you can see, I’m not too crazy about eating food from China. However, I’m wondering whether the Chinese farms, or Whole Foods itself, have to pass organic inspections. Or are we just taking someone’s word that tis’ organic?

  9. Ellie V

    I just made the same discovery about the frozen ‘organic’ chopped spinach from Whole Foods. Actually, my mom, a long-time organic farmer and a former member of the board of pesticide control in Maine, made the discovery for me when visiting me. She pointed out, much like the author of this article, that the ambient pollution in China would most likely affect the purity of anything grown there. It does say on the package that it’s got International organic certification, but I don’t know much about the International standards and I am not going to blindly trust that this spinach hasn’t been grown under acid rain!

  10. Diane Vigil

    Sorry to hear it, Ellie.

    We’ve known for many years that Whole Foods carries both organic and non-organic food. However, I’m not pleased to learn that something labeled organic might not be. My question would echo yours — what are the international organic standards, and how are they enforced?

    So, if we’re to keep shopping at Whole Foods, it’s up to us to inspect their packaging minutely.

  11. Dolores

    I have a skin disease and began to purchase organic from Whole Foods about a year ago. Last week, my girlfriend told me that she heard that Whole Foods market has been misrepresenting the organic food it sells. I was shocked and called her a fibber!

    Decided to go online to see if I could find information to verify what she said. Low and behold, I find this forum. I am very disappointed.

    My question is: Why not start a letter writing campaign to Whole Foods Corporate office? If we grab a bag of frozen veggies (which I have) and it says it’s organic, customers should expect the food to be grown in the best possible condition.

    If we know that food from China is questionable and Whole Foods has a committment to quality, then shouldn’t we as consumers demand that Whole Foods honor that committment?

    I believed that I was trying to keep my body healthy by purchasing organic from Whole Foods. If the veggies are questionable, what about the rest of the food it sells.

  12. Diane Vigil

    Hi, Dolores. I know what you mean. I can offer a couple of tips.

    First, the ABC 7 video on Organic Foods.

    The second is the now even longer thread at the Organic Consumers Association forums regarding Whole Foods Market? What’s Good And Bad About It?. This covers quite a lot.

    Lastly, I’d say that, no matter where we shop, it pays to question and to read labels. At one time, years ago, I thought that all food at Whole Foods was organic. After asking an employee, I came to learn that that wasn’t so, so we turned to looking at labels and the little signs that indicate either that a particular food was organic or "conventional" (meaning: not organic).

    That said, for products bearing the USDA organic label, it’s vital to understand what that means, because there are different levels of "organic" — and probably only one ("100% organic") means what we think it means. We’ve covered the different levels in our article Definition of Organic Food takes a hit.

    Finally, it’s also important to note just where the organic food comes from. We suspect — given the lack of information provided — that any organic food sourced from China, which seems to have had a poor history regarding the quality and safety of its consumer products, may also not be what we’d term "organic" — who’s doing the oversight and approvals?

    I don’t mean to sound so negative. However, we do live in a "let the buyer beware" world, so it’s up to us to ensure that what we’re getting is what we think we’re getting. And, while it can be shocking to learn that this may not have been so in the past (what we got was not so organic as we thought), the fact that we are now armed with that knowledge is a good thing.

  13. Diane Vigil

    Just to add:

    My question is: Why not start a letter writing campaign to Whole Foods Corporate office? If we grab a bag of frozen veggies (which I have) and it says it’s organic, customers should expect the food to be grown in the best possible condition.

    If we know that food from China is questionable and Whole Foods has a committment to quality, then shouldn’t we as consumers demand that Whole Foods honor that committment?

    In the OCA forums thread linked to above, there have been people who have been in contact (writing to) Whole Foods, and some Whole Foods responses have been posted.

    And I agree: we as consumers should demand that Whole Foods honor their commitments.

  14. Diane Vigil

    I just read Bernard Fehringer’s post at the OCA forums regarding the boycotting of Whole Foods. Mr. Fehringer provides organic wheat and millet, and points out that, when such a store is boycotted, that impacts the organic food and product providers as well as the store employees. It’s food for thought: Read Mr. Fehringer’s comment.

  15. Graham

    I agree that it is very important to read the labels. I have worked on designing food labels in the UK for a leading print & packaging firm. All the supermarkets had to follow very strict legal guidelines and requirements – shame this approach does not happen across the globe.

  16. Diane Vigil

    I agree, Graham, regarding strict guidelines (and welcome to We Want Organic Food!).

    I don’t know what types of guidelines we have here in the U.S., but I do know that our organic food guidelines are pretty strange (only food marked "100% organic" is 100% organic; everything else is less than that). However, it’s disconcerting and just plain wrong that organic food coming from another country isn’t necessarily held to the same standards.

  17. Diane Vigil

    Hi, R.J.

    That’s kind of painting things in broad stripes, I think. You seem to be saying two things:

    (a) Anything from China is just fine. I bid you read these articles, the first of which is a compilation mainly based on research done by the New York Times and published in the NYT — the findings are pretty damning:

    (b) Un-organic food is just as good as organic food. I’m not sure where you’re getting your organic food (if you do get it), but I find the taste better pretty much across the boards so long as it is from a good source. Secondly, organic food is pretty much food that was grown (or produced) on land that hasn’t been treated with toxic chemicals and/or water. In other words, un-tainted food. This kind of argument is often justified by the concept that the pesticides, etc. are in not that great a quantity so they won’t hurt you. Maybe. On the other hand, both Harvard and the Mayo Clinic conducted independent studies and stated:

    Personally, I’m a bit alarmed at what seems to be a highly increased rate of diseases such as Parkinson’s and various cancers compared with when I was a kid (and the heavy food production with pesticides had just started). I don’t know why this is happening, but the rates appear to be greatly increased.

    Your mileage may vary. It’s up to you what you wish to eat. On a personal, annecdotal note, we find that we feel much better eating organic food and worse when we eat "regular" food — given that it requires some understanding of what constitutes organic (see our Definition of Organic Food takes a hit) and that you know where your food comes from so as to ascertain the validity of the organic claims.

    But since you’ve mentioned Mr. Borlaug, which I presume is to give some weight to the arguments, I bid you read Truth and Blogging from Authority which quotes a friend, a PhD in bacterial genetics:

    A huge problem in the science blogosphere is what’s called “blogging from authority” where a blogger claims ultimate knowledge because they are a PhD, or an expert, or whatnot, and so everything they say becomes the truth.

  18. R.J. Maxwell

    The fact that organic food is coming from other countries isn’t the problem… The problem is that people actually think organic food is in any way better for them and the environment… China has been a leading exporter of organic food since 2000 and the fact that organically grown food from China is brought into the U.S. is only a surprise to people who don’t actually read anything about the organic food industry….

    Organic food is in no way better for you. It doesn’t taste better. It is not better for the environment. And it doesn’t help out small local farmers (it is big business)…. These are all myths that have been assumed to be true by gullible organic food consumers for over ten years now….

    “If people want to believe that the organic food has better nutritive value, it’s up to them to make that foolish decision. But there’s absolutely no research that shows that organic foods provide better nutrition. As far as plants are concerned, they can’t tell whether that nitrate ion comes from artificial chemicals or from decomposed organic matter. If some consumers believe that it’s better from the point of view of their health to have organic food, God bless them. Let them buy it. Let them pay a bit more. It’s a free society. But don’t tell the world that we can feed the present population without chemical fertilizer. That’s when this misinformation becomes destructive.” -Norman Borlaug (founder of the green revolution which eventually spawned the green movement…)

  19. dennis

    Oh, please! The liberals are still on the attack for Whole Foods. Go to a Trader Joes or Costco – EVERYTHING
    THERE is made in China, if you care to look at the labels.

  20. Buyer Beware

    […] So this is scary, Whole Foods Market is importing some of their organic foods from China. http://wewantorganicfood.com/2009/02/06/whole-foods-market-california-by-way-of-china/ […]

  21. Diane Vigil

    Hi Dennis. To me, this is not a matter of Whole Foods versus Trader Joe’s versus Costco … it’s a matter of getting clean, healthy food. It’s a matter of health. Not a political or "liberal" thing at all.

    I wouldn’t say that I was necessarily liberal.

    I think implying that only liberals want clean food won’t fly.

  22. Sammy

    Ha! Dennis, I totally agree with your statement.

    WF requires 3rd party investigations on the farms that they purchase from IN ADDITION to the USDA organic approval. I’m not really sure what the fuss is about.

  23. Sammy

    You should check their website then…

  24. Diane Vigil

    That may be, Sammy; however, I haven’t seen a statement from Whole Foods that says what you’re claiming. One would hope that that was true, but one would also have to know who the third parties are doing the investigations, no?

  25. Diane Vigil

    Okay. Since their website is rather large, mind pointing the way?

  26. Sammy

    Sure…the direct link is http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/values/organic.php. I got there by going to http://www.wholefoods.com and clicking on the Values Tab then clicking on the Organic Food tab on the left hand menu. This section has some great information (as does the entire website) but specifically look under the Certified Organic heading.

  27. Sammy

    Yes, I was referring to the “Certified Organic” heading, as I stated in my last post. If you read further down in that section, it states:

    Whole Foods Market is certified by CCOF, an independent, USDA-accredited, third-party certifier. CCOF’s Organic Certification Program for retailers verifies that we handle organic goods according to stringent USDA guidelines. The CCOF audit process confirms that we:

    •Examine the current organic certification status of our organic products
    •Maintain an extensive record-keeping process that demonstrates a fully traceable audit trail for our organic products
    •Ensure our organic products are appropriately protected from commingling with conventional products and contamination with prohibited materials
    •Train store team members in the handling practices of organic product
    •Open our stores to on-site inspections by CCOF inspectors

    And it does sound to me like you’re a WF hater. I can’t believe that you nit pick everything WF is trying to do. They are an organic grocery store but do not claim that everything in the store is organic. They clearly label products that are not (i.e. conventional veggies, etc), and all products are labeled with country of origin. If you are so worried that WF is not protecting their consumers with their strict values (way more strict than any other grocery store I’ve shopped in) than maybe it’s not the store for you. You could always shop at a “regular” grocery store that has no values for their customers or for the welfare of the animals. If you only want locally grown items, have you thought about a local food co-op?

  28. Diane Vigil

    Thanks for the link. Since most of the beginning paragraphs are information regarding the organic standards and history, I’m guessing that you’re referring to the “Certified Organic” section.

    Although it’s not explained what the organic certification means regarding retail stores, they do say:

    All Whole Foods Market retail stores in the United States are “certified organic.” Additionally, we have facilities and product lines that have also been “certified organic” through their own organic handling plans …

    What “organic handling plans”?

    Look, we’ve been shopping at Whole Foods since it took over Mrs. Gooch’s in Los Angeles in … I think the 1980’s. I’m hardly against Whole Foods (and I know that not all the food it carries is organic). What I’m not too happy with is not being sure of the origin of some of the food labeled organic.

    That is, after all, part of the duty of the consumer … to ensure that what you’re getting is what you think you’re getting.

    So, since you say:

    WF requires 3rd party investigations on the farms that they purchase from IN ADDITION to the USDA organic approval.

    and you seem to know something about it, I’d ask … who and what precisely are conducting third party investigations of farms outside of the U.S.?

  29. Diane Vigil

    Let’s keep this civil, okay?

    I read the part you quoted; I’m just saying that it doesn’t clarify how products coming from out of the country are dealt with. What precisely is the organic certification status of farms in China? Are you suggesting that there are organizations in place there that can give us the same assurance as the USDA organic certification? I don’t see that this is explained.

    As to your saying that it sounds like I’m a Whole Foods hater, that’s hardly the truth. I’m someone who would like to ensure the authentic organic-ness of food that I purchase. If you read the quote at the top of this page or, better yet, follow the link to the Whole Foods Market Forums where that quote came from (and that original discussion is still there), that’s where the member(s) noted that some of the 365 brand products originated in China. Since China doesn’t have the best record of ensuring that products it produces and/or exports are healthy, what’s wrong with asking questions?

    You know, we’ve published very pro-Whole Foods Market articles here and have shopped there for decades. Please show me where we "nit pick everything WF is trying to do" — you won’t find it because it doesn’t exist.

    Now, if you want to say that anyone who doesn’t agree with everything someone does or questions something a company does — especially when they discover something that might be questionable — is a “hater”, I’d say that’s an interesting spin.

  30. Pat Florida

    The point is that there are vegetables grown in the US under strict regulations. Growing organic produce is more expensive than mass, corporate factory farming. Whole Foods is making a huge profit paying next to nothing for produce from China and they have no way of knowing how it is grown there. Why in the world does one have to buy “California stir fry” vegetables from CHINA??? Just to pump up the profits of Whole foods?

  31. Diane Vigil

    I think you’re right, Pat. And why try to keep it under wraps as well?

    We’ve been shopping at Whole Foods since, if I recall correctly, the 1980’s … starting with Mrs. Gooch’s, which was purchased by Whole Foods a long time ago. Thing is, if I say something isn’t right, then suddenly I’m a “Whole Foods hater” — as if you have to blindly accept everything they do without question. Geez. :)

  32. Diane Vigil

    One note here: Catering to the Masses has a short list of bar codes — including those that mean China.

  33. Jay

    Hi Vigil,

    I searched into your article by chance. Though it’s already 2 years ago, I hope your question has been solved. I am in China, and I’m a consultant in organic food industry. One of my client is a supplier to wholefoods.

    so far as I know, my client has passed numerous strict examination articles to get the supplier qualification, the vegetables exported to the US reached a higher standard than Chinese eat everyday.

    So pls feel comfortable to eat them, if needed, I could show you some photos I shot in their factory. It’s clean and safe.

    Thanks for your remind, I got to know how US people discriminate Chinese products.

    Jay Beijing

  34. Diane Vigil

    Hi Jay. First of all, it is curious that you would come here to take me to task for mentioning the "Organic Produce from China?" discussion that took place at the Whole Foods forums — a discussion that Whole Foods itself has not responded to since the discussion started in 2008. That would seem to have been the best place to address your concerns … directly at the Whole Foods website.

    While I appreciate the your statement that “so far as I know, my client has passed numerous strict examination articles to get the supplier qualification, the vegetables exported to the US reached a higher standard than Chinese eat everyday,” with all due respect, such a declaration from someone who identifies himself(?) by first name only, using a free, untraceable email address, upon the basis of “so far as I know”, does not rise to the level of proof. If you have evidence that would serve as actual proof, I’d dearly love to see it.

    Next, regarding your offer of photos of their factory which you state is “clean and safe”: even if we accept your argument that the factory is clean and safe, these two elements do not address all the U.S.D.A. Organic certification requirements. And while you state that your client is a supplier to Whole Foods and “has passed numerous strict examination articles to get the supplier qualification”, you do not identify whose “strict examination articles” your client has had to pass. The bottom line is that we — the U.S. Whole Foods Markets consumers whom you also attack in your comment — do not know what the precise examination procedure is, whose procedure it is, and whether the U.S.D.A. requirements are also applied and, if so, where and by whom. The bottom line is that we simply do not know, and Whole Foods itself omitted to respond in its own forums when questioned about its Chinese imports.

    Jay, you seem like you might be a nice guy. But as to your statement that “US people discriminate Chinese products,” well, with all due respect, this discussion itself bears witness to the famed debating method that if you can’t win the argument, attack the person who’s arguing. That is, if you can’t win the argument, attack the other person as a “hater”.

    Has it occurred to you that perhaps people are not discriminating against Chinese products, but are very hesitant to consume or use Chinese products due to the history of some of those products? Now that you’ve brought up this issue, let me say that, some years ago, as I was perusing the news, it struck me that there were many, many well-researched articles from credible organizations (including, yes, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration) regarding people being hurt, or even dying, over a period of years from the use of specific Chinese products. So perhaps it’s not about “discrimination” against China … can you not see that perhaps it’s a product safety issue? Can you not imagine that perhaps people don’t want to eat or use food or products that might harm them or their children — and that that would be true no matter where the items originated from?

    Truth be told, there were so many articles that I compiled an incomplete list of them into an article of my own: Questioning Chinese Imports

  35. Jay

    Oh hi Diani,

    I didn’t expect to get your response for it’s already a topic 3 years ago. I didn’t mean to be rude and just want to build some trust between the 2 countries. Sorry I didn’t bring this topic into any specific evidence.

    I totally understand your concern over Chinese products, and China is, definitely, on a way of developing. What I wanna express here is just that a lot of people in China, is working very hard on food safety and promote the organic, and some companies are doing really good, to be a qualified supplier to channels such as whole foods, jusco, costco etc.

    For example the company I happeded to know, called Yaxiya(I don’t know its English name), from Shandong China, has passed qualifications like USDA, FDA, NOP, OCIA, BRC, HACCP, JONA, JAS, EU 2091, even KSA, etc. They really spend a lot on passing these every year. It’s so called the “benchmark”

    I notified I did’t leave an email, and excuse me I didn’t want this to be an email quarrel~~

    No affense, I really wanna build some trust between the hard working producer and consumer. And I read from reports that consumers seems to prefer local foods.

    Since I work for a consulting firm, and my job is to find ways helping my client to export more organic foods and increase revenue. The US is really a big market, and this website seems to be of big influence so I searched some customer opinions here. And thanks for your opinion!

    Yours sincerely,

    Jay

  36. Diane Vigil

    Hi Jay. Thanks for giving your further input into this discussion.

    The truth of the matter is that, as a consumer, I wouldn’t normally learn some of the things you’ve specified, like the types of qualifications your client has passed. It would be nice if Whole Foods, Costco, etc. would publicize what the procedures are, so that consumers here don’t just become alarmed at the idea of “Chinese products” without also learning what procedures the products may have have undergone. Because that information is not widespread, all people know is what happened in the past.

    As to local foods, well, my theory is that local foods may be a good thing due to freshness, but if they’re not organic, then I wouldn’t care how fresh they are.

    At any rate, thank you for replying. I didn’t expect you to reply either, but it’s good to open the communication. Thank you. :)

  37. Food Politics: Whole Foods | Raygun

    […] Whether its frozen, pre-packaged organic options from a non-regulated organic market like China or vegetables grown by corporate farms in California who only occasionally trigger national recalls […]

  38. Maryann

    Hi Diani,

    First of all, I want to thank you for creating this post. I have been enlightened by several of the informed responses that people have added to this discussion.

    But my main reason for writing is to say that I am deeply saddened and outraged by what I have learned about Whole Foods importing food from China, as well as the USDA lowering their standards on food that is not labeled “100% organic.”

    I started eating organically about a year ago and I liked to think that I was helping myself and the environment. But now I realize that I have to be extra vigilant about reading labels and buying products from reputable organic brands. An acquaintance of mine had mentioned that she had bought organic frozen spinach and was horrified when she read that it was imported from China. I went home that night and went through all my organic products and did not find anything imported from China. However, I read in an article about organic sunflower seeds being imported from China as well. I mostly shop at Whole Foods and the sunflower seeds are always a better bargain when purchased in bulk. Last night, I looked on the bin to try to see where the sunflower seeds were imported from and I could find no labels of origin. But the pre-packaged sunflower seeds that I found (in the next aisle over) were half from the USA and half from China. I am now very uncomfortable eating the organic sunflower seeds that I currently have because I feel they may be from China and there is no real way to tell. I am strongly considering tossing them on the lawn to feed the birds.

    Anyways, I am now rethinking how I look at organic labels and I am grateful for people like you who put the information out there. We need to stay informed and educated on this topic.

    Sincerely,
    Maryann

  39. Diane Vigil

    Yes, I do know what you mean, Maryann. It’s an unfortunate fact that we cannot just trust labels, but have to keep up to date on what our “wonderful” USDA is allowing to be labeled “organic”, and then where the food comes from such that we can hope to determine whether the food is actually organic.

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