GMO at Whole Foods…Why?

8 Oct

 

Nothing Artificial Ever: Whole Foods caught in GMO marketing deception – proof

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Mike Adams
Natural News
October 8, 2012

A bombshell investigative video just released by Infowars.com has exposed what can only be called false and misleading advertising by Whole Foods. It all began when InfoWars reporters Aaron Dykes and Melissa Melton visited Whole Foods last week to try to find out what customers thought about Whole Foods stores selling so many unlabeled genetically modified foods. That fact was recently admitted by Whole Foods in its own blog post.

As you can see in the video, some customers were shocked to discover that Whole Foods sells GMOs in their store. The majority of Whole Foods customers, it turned out, had no idea the company was selling GMO.

Whole Foods Caught in False Advertising Scandal

While talking with customers on camera, Aaron Dykes and Melissa Melton were approached by a Whole Foods executive named Libba Letton. She handles investor relations with Whole Foods, and she’s also in charge of food safety. In an on-camera interview, she admitted that Whole Foods stores do sell unlabeled GMOs, but her justification for that was that stores everywhere are selling unlabeled GMOs.

As she stated on camera (see video, above):

“Unless a store is all organic, every store in the country sells unlabeled genetically modified [foods].” – Libba Letton, Whole Foods Market Inc.

On the issue of GMOs, then, Whole Foods is no better than Safeway, or Kroger or even Wal-Mart.

But then Libba said something that will no doubt haunt her and the entire Whole Foods executive team for years to come:

“I don’t think that Whole Foods does anything to try and make people think that we don’t have food with GMOs in them,” she said on camera.

 

“NOTHING ARTIFICIAL, EVER!”

Libba’s statement is, as you’ll see below, a blatant deception. Because as the Infowars video shows, Aaron and Melissa located a Whole Foods store in Austin with a giant logo emblazed on the side of the store. As you can see in the photo below, the logo declares: NOTHING ARTIFICIAL, EVER.

So how can Whole Foods claim “NOTHING ARTIFICIAL, EVER” when even the company’s own top executives admit its stores are knowingly selling artificially engineered, genetically altered ingredients?

The answer, of course, is that Whole Foods is engaged in false advertising and misrepresentation.

 

Whole Foods engaged is engaged in false advertising

The definition of “false advertising” is:

…the crime or tort of publishing, broadcasting, or otherwise publicly distributing an advertisement that contains an untrue, misleading, or deceptive representation or statement which was made knowingly or recklessly and with the intent to promote the sale of property, goods, or services to the public.

A question, then: Is Whole Foods making untrue, misleading or deceptive statements with the intent to promote the sale of goods to the public?

Absolutely. Without question.

The claim emblazed on the front of the Whole Foods stores, as proven in this Infowars video, says, “NOTHING ARTIFICIAL, EVER.” And yet the company openly admits to selling an entire array products in its stores which contain artificially-modified ingredients such as GM corn.

So how are artificially modified grains not artificial? It doesn’t add up. The marketing claim is false.

 

GMOs are artificial

You might wonder, “What’s the definition of artificial?”

Here it is from Dictionary.com:

Artificial: made by human skill; produced by humans (opposed to natural)

And what, you might ask, is the definition of GMO?

Genetically modified organism: an organism or microorganism whose genetic material has been altered by means of genetic engineering.

“Altering” the DNA of an organism is, by definition, artificial (i.e. not natural). “Engineering” the DNA of seed is accomplished by human skill, hence it is “artificial” in the same vein as “artificial color” or “artificial flavor.”

GMOs are, of course, blatantly artificial. No one can argue with a straight face that GMOs are “natural.” The very definition of the term “modified” (in the context of GMOs) means modified by humans to create something that nature did not create on its own. Nature does not cross-pollinate humans, insects and plants, for example. But human genetic engineers do!

So Whole Foods’ claim of “NOTHING ARTIFICIAL, EVER” has no basis in fact. It is marketing deception, pure and simple. False advertising. Blatantly misleading. That Whole Foods’ own food safety executive says, on camera, that “I don’t think that Whole Foods does anything to try and make people think that we don’t have food with GMOs in them” is pure bull. It’s the kind of statement you might expect to hear from a Monsanto spokesperson, or from the TSA claiming “our radiation scanners are SAFE!”

What is the purpose of this deceptive marketing, you might ask? To trick customers, of course, into falsely believing Whole Foods sells nothing artificial.

No wonder so many customers and even Whole Foods employees are convinced that Whole Foods sells no GMO! This was revealed in a recent Organic Spies video that was banned by YouTube because it dared to engage in actual investigative journalism.

Operation Whole Foods Hidden Camera GMO Sting – Bait Organic, Switch to GMO

 

Whole Foods carries out false and misleading marketing

The claim about “NOTHING ARTIFICIAL, EVER” is part of a grand bait-and-switch scheme of consumer deception carried out by Whole Foods. Publicly, Whole Foods runs advertising and uses corporate messages that claim it sells absolutely nothing artificial, but once you’re inside the store, a huge number of products on the shelves contain not only GMOs but also hidden forms of MSG, too. Just check the labels of foods sold by Whole Foods, and you’ll see masses of products made with yeast extract and torula yeast — both are hidden forms of MSG.

On its own web page, Whole Foods describes its “quality standards.” Those standards include the following six points:

1) We carefully evaluate each and every product we sell.

2) We feature foods that are free of artificial preservatives, colors, flavors, sweeteners, and hydrogenated fats.

3) We are passionate about great tasting food and the pleasure of sharing it with others.

4) We are committed to foods that are fresh, wholesome and safe to eat.

5) We seek out and promote organically grown foods.

6) We provide food and nutritional products that support health and well-being.

If point #1 is true, then Whole Foods “carefully evaluates” products containing GMOs and then accepts them into the store anyway! The company is fully aware that it sells GMO ingredients, but doesn’t seem to think this is a problem, even when GMOs are not labeled on its foods, thereby deceiving customers . How is this anything resembling honesty?

On point #4, the store says it is “committed” to foods that are “safe to eat.” Is the company not aware of the recent French research showing rats fed a lifetime of GM corn developed massive, horrifying cancer tumors?

Here’s a picture of the rats, released by the French research team, showing the results of rats fed a lifetime of Monsanto’s GM corn:

Importantly, that’s the same Monsanto GM corn found in many products sold by Whole Foods!

If Whole Foods is committed to safe food, why is it still selling unlabeled GMOs throughout all its stores, especially when those same GMOs are seen as so dangerous around the world that they’ve been banned in numerous countries already?

Point #6 claims the company provides products that “support health and well-being.” And that’s true. Whole Foods does sell many high-quality nutritional products and certified organic food items. But that’s not all they sell. They also sell products made largely with Monsanto’s genetically modified corn and other GMOs. To say “we sell healthy products” while simultaneously selling products containing an unlabeled ingredient widely suspected of causing cancer is a kind of market sleight of hand. It’s an effort to say here, watch what we’re doing over here with organics but pay no attention to all the GMOs we’re selling.

To put a giant logo on the side of the store claiming “NOTHING ARTIFICIAL, EVER” while secretly selling unlabeled GMOs all across the store is nothing less than deceptive, misleading marketing. If Whole Foods were to be totally honest with customers, it would need to add point #7:

7) We sell unlabeled GMOs and we have no intention of ever telling you about them. When you shop at Whole Foods, it’s sort of like a nutritional mine field. Good luck, customers, because you’re on your own!

 

From a culture of hippies to a corporate culture of lying

What really concerns me about Whole Foods and its false advertising is not merely the false advertising itself but that Whole Foods marketing executives think nothing of flatly lying right out in the open about GMOs. They apparently think their customers are so uninformed that they won’t ever find out about all the GMOs sold there.

The Whole Foods investor relations executive, Libba Letton, says that GMOs are found everywhere, but only when pressed on the issue in front of a camera. Is that seriously her excuse for why Whole Foods sells GMOs, too? Because everyone else does? Really?

This argument is, once again, based on deception because all the other grocery stores across the country don’t slap claims on the sides of their stores that say, “NOTHING ARTIFICIAL, EVER.” Only Whole Foods makes such a bold claim on the side of its building. And the claim is not merely false, it is a claim made for the purpose of deceiving customers into purchasing something that isn’t what they thought it was.

Should Whole Foods Test Their Products for GMOs?

The claim is also knowingly untrue. This is a key element in court cases involving consumer fraud, by the way. Generally speaking, for a statement to be considered fraud, it must falsely state a material fact while also being known to be false by the person or entity making the claim. In addition, there must be intent on the part of the party committing fraud to deceive the consumer. In the case of Whole Foods, all three of the following conditions are true:

1) The statement “NOTHING ARTIFICIAL, EVER” is a false statement of material fact.

2) Whole Foods executives are fully aware that this statement is false, as admitted by CEO John Mackey and others.

3) The false statement is made for the purpose of deceiving consumers into believing Whole Foods sells no artificial ingredients when, in fact, it does.

Furthermore, it is a simple matter for consumers who might be engaged in a lawsuit against Whole Foods to prove that they relied on this claim as source of information from which they made their purchasing decisions at Whole Foods. This adds weight to any claim of fraud.

As a result, there may be a case for a nationwide class action lawsuit against Whole Foods by consumers who were duped into thinking the stores do not sell GMOs. It will be interesting to see if such a lawsuit unfolds in the months ahead.

It will also be fascinating to see if Whole Foods continues to try to defend its lie about GMOs, or if it instead makes far-reaching changes to its marketing claims and labeling in an effort to actually tell the truth instead of deceiving customers about GMO.

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