Whole Foods Market

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"Whole Foods Market was founded in Austin, Texas, when four local businesspeople decided the natural foods industry was ready for a supermarket format. Our founders were John Mackey and Renee Lawson Hardy, owners of Safer Way Natural Foods, and Craig Weller and Mark Skiles, owners of Clarksville Natural Grocery. The original Whole Foods Market opened in 1980 with a staff of only 19 people." [1] Owned by Amazon since 2017.


Use of Toxic Sludge

Sewage sludge is created by all of the human waste flushed down the toilet and sinks -- which includes all the pharmaceutical residues the men, women, and children in the city using the sewage system use -- and all the material corporations flush down the drain, which can include industrial materials, solvents, medical waste, and other chemicals. The water is removed from the sludge, and it is heated to kill certain bacteria, but the heating of the sewage sludge does not remove metals, flame retardants (which California recently listed as a carcinogen, or cancer-causing agent), and other chemicals that remain in the sewage sludge when food crops are grown in it.

While certified organic food cannot be grown in sewage sludge-- or "biosolids," the Orwellian PR euphemism used by the sewage sludge industry-- "conventionally" grown fruits or vegetables legally can be. One concerned citizen in North Carolina, Mario Ciasulli, went to his local Whole Foods store in Chapel Hill to find out if any of their "conventional" produce is grown in sewage sludge. Thinking that information would be publicly available, he later went back and forth for months with the "team members" and "team leader." Everyone told him that Whole Foods neither asks farmers whether or not they grow food in sewage sludge, nor will they tell consumers about the possible risks from sewage sludge when they buy "conventional" produce instead of certified organic fare.

When Ciasulli went on to contact the regional vice president of Whole Foods, he asked "Why does WF allow non-organic produce on shelves without checking the conditions they're grown in?" The answer he provided was essentially: "Whole Foods don't ask, [and] they [the farmers] don't tell."[2]

Leadership (2020)[3]

Former Personnel

Board of Directors

Accessed April 2012: [4]

Directors (2017)



URL: http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/

Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch

Whole Foods

Fresh & Wild


  1. Whole Foods Market, History, organizational web page, accessed April 4, 2012.
  2. Rebekah Wilce, "Don't Ask, Don't Tell": Concerned Citizen Uncovers Whole Foods' Policy on Selling Food Grown in Sewage Sludge, PRWatch.org, December 18, 2012.
  3. Whole Foods Market Leadership, organizational web page, accessed April 5, 2020.
  4. Whole Foods Market, Board of Directors, organizational web page, accessed April 4, 2012.