Ridiculous Whole Foods Claims: Part 157

By Josh Bloom — May 17, 2017
The Department of Misinformation is (as always) in high gear at Whole Foods. This time those folks are trying to convince consumers that it doesn't use pesticides on the grocer's overpriced stuff. Only problem is that they do. Minor error. Anyone could make it.

Whole Foods is utterly shameless. I recently walked through one of the stores, found one calculated trick after another, and wrote about it. And none too kindly (See: Stupid Whole Foods Tricks).

Here is one of the crazier items that they sell.

And there is plenty more in there that is just as bad.

But, they are not content to simply fool you in the store. The company's website does a damn fine job, although you have to look a little harder to see the BS. (At least it's organic BS.)

Here's a doozy:

Here is a fail safe trick that organic marketers use to make people want to spend more money to get the same thing (their thing) than what you'd get in a supermarket: mention the word pesticide. After all, 95 percent of the people who buy organic are most concerned about pesticides on their food. Ask a Whole Food shopper how he or she feels about buying carrots grown without pesticides. Then tell them that there ain't no such thing. Organic farmers are allowed to (and must) use pesticides, just not the same ones as traditional farmers. In fact, there is an extensive list of chemicals that are permitted in organic farming. (2)

OK, so life isn't perfect. At the very least, the organic farmers are using nice, pretty, pesticides, which can't hurt us, while the rest of them are using icky Monsanto chemicals (1), right?  Or maybe not. One of the organic pesticides permitted is called rotenone. Its toxicology profile is rather interesting:

  • "WHO classifies rotenone as a moderately hazardous Class II pesticide."
  • "During the past decade, rotenone has received enormous attention because of its link to Parkinson’s disease."

And then there's this:

"Common clinical signs of poisoning include nausea, vomiting, gastric pain, clonic convulsions, muscle tremors, lethargy, incontinence and respiratory stimulation followed by depression. Death occurs due to cardio-respiratory failure." 

Well, that doesn't sound all that wonderful, does it? 

Sure, Whole Foods doesn't sell anything grown with a synthetic pesticide, but it's OK with rotenone, even though it's about 10-times more toxic than Sumithrin the active ingredient in Anvil.  If someone chucked a can of Anvil into Whole Foods, the store would empty as fast as Madison Square Garden halfway through a Knicks' game. Too bad the rat tox data doesn't back this up:

(1) https://tinyurl.com/zwutgg8, (2) https://tinyurl.com/k3584ym, (3) https://tinyurl.com/zwutgg8, (4) https://tinyurl.com/lz45bem

Huh? The organic pesticide is 10-100X more toxic in rats than the icky pesticide? Who knew?

              He didn't


Speaking of rodents, guess what? It's time to play WHAT KILLED THE RAT?!!

If you haven't kept up with what passes for the American version of culture, you have no idea how popular this game has become. So much so that you can now bet on it. And don't think that the Vegas guys are gonna let this kind of action go by without getting a cut. The odds board at Caesar's Palace speaks for itself.

So, what killed the rat? Let's find out...


And the answer is..... The organic kale!!!

Which probably doesn't taste as good as you'd think...

Yet another victim of organic kale

OK, enough of this silliness. The story has come to an end - organically. 

Enjoy your non-pesticide (plus pesticide) kale. To each his own.

Papaya King ! Now there's some fine eating.



(1) It doesn't matter whether Monsanto ever invented, made, or sold any of these chemicals; they're still Monsanto chemicals to all the denizens of Whole Foods World.

(2) I don't buy the persistence in the soil/water stuff either. Rotenone decomposes in the environment with a half-life of about two days. For Anvil, that number ranges from two days to two weeks (possibly more), depending on the amount of water present. The more water, the slower it biodegrades. No - these things do not persist in soil or water.


Josh Bloom

Director of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Science

Dr. Josh Bloom, the Director of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Science, comes from the world of drug discovery, where he did research for more than 20 years. He holds a Ph.D. in chemistry.

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