Steven Salzberg at Forbes points out that Whole Foods Markets does some very good things, like having a seafood sustainability policy and offering humanely-raised chicken and beef. On the other hand it also does ridiculous things, like flogging homeopathy, opposing GMOs, and refusing to sell aspirin.
Whole Foods sells homeopathic medicines that are little more than snake oil. They make claims for health benefits, both on their shelves and on their website, that are based on little more than magical thinking. For example, they sell “homeopathic flu remedies” claiming that “when taken at the first sign of sickness, these can provide temporary relief of symptoms including fever, chills, and body aches.” This is simply false: no homeopathic treatment has ever been shown to be effective at treating flu symptoms. (I’ve written about homeopathy in more detail here and here.)
It’s ironic that on the one hand, Whole Foods proclaims “We’ve long believed that consumers have a right to know what’s in your food”. But when it comes to homeopathic remedies, they neglect to inform consumers that these remedies do not contain the ingredients on the bottle at all.
Well that’s because there aren’t any! That’s what makes it work!!
Whole Foods has an anti-GMO policy, adopted across all their stores, that ignores the science of GMOs. They announced last year that they would label all products in their stores to indicate whether they contained Genetically Modified Organisms. They also have announced that they are trying to eliminate GMOs from their shelves.
Whole Foods won’t sell the pain relievers aspirin and ibuprofen, because they’re not “natural.”Instead, their Whole Body department sells a wide range of nutritional supplements, for which they make claims such as this:
“Not sure which supplement to choose? Grab a full-spectrum wellness or immune support formula. These combinations of herbs, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants are specifically designed to effectively improve overall wellbeing and enhance immune support.“
And you can’t tell us they didn’t, because that’s so vague you won’t be able to tell!