Food


Think Whole Foods is a ripoff? It's worse than you thought WED JUN 24, 2015--If you've ever shopped at Whole Foods you've probably been shocked at the prices. But a recent investigation shows that not only are its products overpriced, it's also dishonest—and its shady practices when it comes to weighing and mislabeling may be illegal.

The investigation looked at products that are weighed and labeled and found a "systematic problem" whereby customers were routinely overcharged for things like nuts, snack foods, poultry and other grocery products. Eight packages of chicken tenders—priced at $9.99 per pound—were inaccurately priced and labeled to the tune of a $4.13 overcharge to the customer per package, a store profit of $33.04 for the set. DCA says one package was overpriced as much as $4.85. "Additionally, 89 percent of the packages tested did not meet the federal standard for the maximum amount that an individual package can deviate from the actual weight, which is set by the U.S. Department of Commerce."

I guess this kind of dishonesty is just par for the course when your CEO is a libertarian who thinks Obamacare is fascism and climate change is A-OK.


"In general, the data show that people living in lower-income, nonwhite communities must travel greater distances to reach well-stocked and reasonably priced food stores than people living in higher-income areas. Healthy food is also more expensive on a calorie-for-calorie basis than junk food. According to the Institute for Agriculature and Trade Policy, the real cost of fresh fruits and vegetables has risen nearly 40 percent in the past twenty years, while the real cost of soda, sweets, fats and oils has gone down" (Mark Winne. "A New Idea Grows In Alabama." The Nation, Nov. 27, 2006: 18-20.)


"The reason that eating well in this country costs more than eating poorly is that we have a set of agricultural policies that subsidize fast food and make fresh, wholesome foods, which receive no government support, seem expensive. Organic foods seem elitist only because industrial food is artificially cheap, with its real costs being charged to the public purse, the public health and the environment" (Alice Waters. "Slow Food Nation." The Nation, Sep. 11, 2006: 13).


Eric Schlosser

"Tyson ads don't show chickens crammed together at the company's factory farms, and Oscar Mayer ads don't reveal what really goes into those wieners. There's a good reason for this. Once you learn how our modern industrial fod system has transformed what most Americans eat, you become highly motivated to eat something else...

"...food companies and thier allies work hard to keep consumers in the dark...

"What single thing could change the US food system, practically overnight? Widespread public awareness--of how this system operates and whom it benefits, how it harms consumers, how it mistreats animals and pollutes the land, how it corrupts public officials and intimidates the press, and most of all, how its power ultimately depends on a series of cheerful and ingenious lies."

Marion Nestle

"Adults may be fair game for marketers, but children are not. Children cannot distinguish sales pitches from information unless taught to do so. Food companies spend at least $10 billion annually enticing children to desire food brands and to pester parents to buy them. The result: American children consumer more than one third of their daily calories from soft drinks, sweets, salty snacks and fast food"

Michael Pollan

"The farm bill determines what our kids eat for lunch in school every day. Right now, the school lunch program is designed not around the goal of children's health but to help dispose of surplus agricultural commodities, especially cheap feedlot beef and dairy products, both high in fat.

"The farm bill writes the regulatory rules governing the production of meat in this country, determining whether the meat we eat comes from sprawling, brutal, polluting factory farms and the big four meatpackers (which control 80 percent of the market) or from local farms.

"Most important, the farm bill determines what crops the government will support--and in turn what kinds of foods will be plentiful and cheap. Today that means, by and large, corn and soybeans. These two crops are the building blocks of the fast-food nation...

"So perhaps that's where we should start, now that the debate over the 2007 farm bill is about to be joined. This time around let's call it "the food bill" and put our legislators on notice that this is about us and we're paying attention."

Wendell Berry

"...most of our food is now produced by industrial agriculture, which has proved to be immensely productive, but at the cost of destroying the means of production. It is enormously destructive of farmland, farm communities and farmers. It wastes soil, water, energy and life. It is highly centralized, genetically impoverished and dependent on cheap fossil fuels, on long-distance hauling and on consumers' ignorance. Its characteristic byproducts are erosion, pollution and financial despair. This is an agriculture with a short future."

Peter Singer

"There is one simple thing that everyone can do to fix the food system. Don't buy factory-farm products...

"We use synthetic fertilizers and oil-powered tractors to grow corn or soybeans. Then we truck it to the animals so they can eat it...

"Pig farms use six pounds of grain for every pound of boneless meat we get from them. For cattle in feedlots, the ratio is 13:1. Even for chickens, the least inefficient factory-farmed meat, the ration is 3:1."

Vandana Shiva

"Humanity has eaten more than 80,000 plant species through its evolution. More than 3,000 have been used consistently. However, we now rely on just eight crops to provide 75 percent of the world's food. With genetic engineering, production has narrowed to three crops: corn, soya, canola. Monocultures are destroying biodiversity, our health and the quality and diversity of food...

"Corporate control thrives on monocultures. Citizens' food freedom depends on biodiversity."

Eliot Coleman

"Like chemical agriculture, our economy is based on selling symptom treatments rather than trying to correct causes. For example, the medical profession peddles pills, potions and operations rather than stressing alternatives to destructive Twinkie nutrition, overstressed lifestyles and toxic pollution. Governments spend billions on armaments to prepare for wars and wage them (symptom treatment) instead of committing themselves to diplomacy and cooperation (cause correction). Although successful organic farmers demonstrate daily why correcting causes makes so much more sense than treating symptoms, this is not widely appreciated. If its implications were fully understood, organic farming would certainly be suppressed. Its success exposes the artificiality of our symptom-focused economy and shows why society's most intractable problems never seem to get solved."

Jim Hightower

"The good news is that this "good food" movement is already well under way and gaining strength every day. It receives little media coverage, but consumers in practically every city, town and neighborhood across America are reconnecting with local farmers and artisans to de-industrialize, de-conglomeratize, de-globalise--de-Wal-Martize--their food systems.

"Of course, the Powers That Be sneer at these efforts, saying they can't succeed. But, as a friend of mine who is one of the successful pioneers in this burgeoning movement puts it: "Those who say it can't be done should not interrupt those who are doing it"" (Alice Waters, ed. "One thing to Do About Food." The Nation, Sep. 11, 2006: 14-21).


"The United States, with less than five per cent of the world's people, consumes over twenty five percent of its resources...

"...the really scary news is that the rest of the planet is scrambling to catch up with our lifestyle. If all 6.4 billion people did so, we'd need four more Earths to accommodate them" ("The Sierra Club Launches its "True Cost of Food" Campaign." Alamo Sierran, Aug. 2004: 1-2).


"...make fish safer to eat by acting to clean up the largest source of mercury pollution, coal-burning power plants...

"Send a free fax or find sample letters here www.healthyfish.net/index.html.

"Also contact mayor Garza and all the council persons telling them we do not want a HUGE coal plant right here in San Antonio" ("Do Your Part." Alamo Sierran, Aug. 2004: 2).


"The high yields Naylor gets from his monoculture fields couldn't happen without added nitrates. The chemical fertilizer industry was born from left-over ammonium nitrate, used in making explosives, the government had after World War II...

"Modern warfare and industrial agriculature are entwined...

""Today, it takes between seven and ten calories of fossil fuel energy to deliver one calorie of food energy to an American plate." We've traded free energy from the sun for pricey petroleum.

"Big Ag thrives precisely because so many of these costs are hidden, especially environmental ones. Chemical runoff from farms contaminates our water tables. Excess nitrogen in our watersheds has created huge dead zones in the Northwest and the Gulf of Mexico. Our public health system faces epidemics of diabetes, childhood obesity, and heart disease, all related to our diet" (Elizabeth DiNovella. "Think Globally, Eat Locally." The Progressive, Nov. 2006: 41-44).


Please send comments to: Colby Glass, MLIS