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Author Topic: Whole Foods Natural(?) Beef  (Read 3185 times)

Offline NaomiZ

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Whole Foods Natural(?) Beef
« on: November 19, 2007, 12:04:12 PM »
Anyone who purchases their beef from Whole Foods here is some interesting information from the Organic Consumers Association:

Hello, The Organic Consumers Association would like to clarify
 information in  an alert that was part of Organic Bytes issue #122 (sent to you

We take great pride in reporting strictly factual information with
  each issue of Organic Bytes. That is a major reason why Organic Bytes  has
 more subscribers than any other email newsletter focused on organic

Our alert was based on information provided to us from one of our
  trusted allies, United Farmworkers.  It stated: "According to the FDA,  the
 company, Beef Northwest, has been administering drugs to its
  livestock above legal limits."  It goes on to say that Beef  Northwest's meat
 is sold under the "Country Natural Beef" label, which  is found at a
 large number of natural foods stores, including Whole
Foods Market.

Since the alert went out, we have received FDA documentation with an
 update: Beef Northwest did have a one-time FDA violation, and an
  employee has now been terminated for the error. In addition, the beef  in
 question was routed to conventional outlets NOT packaged under the  Country
 Natural Beef (CNB) label. Any livestock that require  antibiotic
 treatment are not packaged under the CNB label.

In addition, Beef Northwest has multiple operations, and only a
  portion of its cattle are packaged under the CNB label (those cattle  that
 are pasture or range fed for 16-18 months and never treated with
  hormones or antibiotics). The majority of CNB's meat is raised by  family

Having clarified that, we would like to note that this story does
  bring to light some of the controversial angles of this issue:

CNB is a co-op of family farmers who do ethically raise their animals
  naturally and with open access to pastures for the first 16-18 months
  of their lives.  These farmers then sell those animals to CNB who,
  according to their website, send the animals to one of Beef  Northwest's
 feedlots that is a CAFO. CNB is very transparent and open  with this
 information on its website but not on its packaging. The  animals spend
 the final three months of their lives fattened at this  feedlot with a
 diet made-up of 50% potatoes and a 50% mix of corn and  alfalfa.  CNB
 notes that it cannot guarantee the corn is GMO-free. If  an animal falls
 ill and must be treated with antibiotics, it is not  packaged under the
 CNB label.

Also, the feedlots where these animals are fattened are under scrutiny
  for union busting by United Farmworkers. We encourage our readers to
  contact United Farmworkers for more information on these labor
 related issues:

For more information, the CNB website goes into detail about its
  operations, including how the animals are slaughtered:


FYI - Here is a letter from Whole Foods Market further articulating
 this point:

Dear Concerned Customer, 
Thank you for taking time to email us with your concerns.
Whole Foods Market works hard to provide the best tasting, the freshest
 and most wholesome, naturally raised meat available. We are proud of
 our role as a leader in the natural meat industry and we have been able
 to champion innovative production systems to ensure the quality and the
 safety of the meat we sell. You can learn more about our meat program
We?d like to take this opportunity to address the issues regarding
 alleged unsafe residue present in meat supplied to Whole Foods Market by
 Country Natural Beef (CNB). The information contained in the email text
 you sent to us is factually inaccurate because no unsafe residue has
 been reported to be present in CNB beef. The citations referenced by the
 United Farm Workers (UFW) were in no way related to CNB?s herds or
 processing plant.
With regard to the unsafe residue issue raised on the UFW website, the
 beef provided by CNB to Whole Foods Market comes from herds that are
 completely segregated from herds destined for the conventional market.
 Further, we have controls in place to ensure that meat sold in our stores
 meet our strict quality standards. These safeguards include an
 affidavit process verifying compliance of our standards and on-site visits and
 assessments, which allow us to help ensure beef provided by our
 suppliers is not commingled with conventional beef.
As for the employment issues you raised in your email, please be
 assured that Whole Foods Market works diligently to comply with all local,
 state and federal labor laws. We expect our vendors to do the same and to
 take this issue as seriously as we do. Though we work closely with our
 vendor partners to offer products of the highest possible quality, we
 have no practical or legal authority over their labor practices.
Your Whole Foods Market Customer Service Team

FYI - Here is United Farm Workers letter from today:

Tell Whole Foods to Cut the Bull
Since we sent out our alert on Wednesday, November 14, thousands have
 contacted Whole Foods to express their concern about the use of illegal
 drugs on cows fattened at the Beef Northwest feedlots. Whole Foods
 sells Country Natural Beef. Country Natural Beef's cows are fattened
 exclusively at the Beef Northwest feedlots. In addition, the owner of Beef
 Northwest, John Wilson, is also a member of the Country Natural Beef
The FDA recently warned Beef Northwest about the use of illegal drugs
 on cows. In their letter, the FDA calls the meat treated with these
 drugs "adulterated" and "unsafe."
Whole Foods responded to concerned citizens who sent them an e-mail, by
 claiming that they "have controls in place to ensure that the meat
 sold in our stores meet our strict quality standards." However, Whole
 Foods makes no mention on either their website or in their e-mails
 regarding any testing protocols in place to ensure that the meat they sell does
 not contain unsafe levels of these drugs.
This is not the first time Whole Foods has overstated their position.
 Whole Foods used to advertise Country Natural Beef (CNB) as "grass fed."
 In August, we pointed out to Whole Foods that there is not a blade of
 grass to be seen at the feed lots. Country Natural Beef cows were fed
 grain, cooked potatoes and dark, used vegetable oil during the
 approximate three months they were at Beef Northwest?s feedlot prior to
By coming forth and sharing this information, Beef Northwest workers
 are risking their jobs. Please stand up for these workers and make sure
 that Beef Northwest does not retaliate against them for speaking the
Tell Whole Foods to cut the bull. Demand that Whole Foods test all the
 meat it sells to ensure that it doesn?t contain unsafe levels of
 illegal drugs.


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