Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Sewage Sludge: Whole Foods Quietly Agrees To Drop Waste Grown Produce

Heather Callaghan
Activist Post

In December 2012, whistleblower Mario Ciasulli, a semi-retired electrical engineer in North Carolina, put pressure on Whole Foods to come clean about a fertilizer method among their conventional produce suppliers.

That is, using sewage sludge, the "pink slime" of large produce farming. No joke - actual sewage. Whole Foods' conventional produce is grown on soil layered with human waste as a fertilizer.

The stuff that's flushed down sinks, drains and toilets? The water is removed from the resulting sludge, heated and sprayed. Yes, this includes pharmaceutical residues, chemicals, heavy metals, BPA, phthalates, resistant pathogens, PFCs, industrial solvents, flame retardants and other things that heat is insufficient to treat. Guess what else? There is a ton of evidence that these things "bioaccumulate" in the plants and organisms that eat them. It is doubtful that this practice is good for pollinators.

The company escaped scrutiny for a long time by referring to the waste as "bio-solids." Here is the origin of that little PR spin.

Whole Foods' customers expected better for the high prices. At the very least, to be safe from contamination, without having to take out another mortgage to buy nothing but certified organic. Watch Mario talk about it here.

Since Ciasulli dug further and demanded to know the conventional food origins, thousands of activists begged Whole Foods for some disclosure. His efforts were supported by the Center for Media and Democracy, who brought the wide-spread practice to light in the groundbreaking 1993 book,
Toxic Sludge is Good For You: Lies, Damn Lies and the Public Relations Industry.

Recently, Whole Foods announced a new set of standards for fresh produce and flowers, but it conveniently left out anything referring to sewage sludge.

Instead, we know about this agreement from Whole Foods' email communications to Ciasulli:
[p]rohibiting the use of biosolids will be part of our core requirements. All of our suppliers will be compliant with the core requirements by the time we roll out the program.
A follow-up email from Whole Foods explained:
This initial release was meant to be high-level. There are far too many nuances to include on a press release.
Some consumers are disillusioned by the revelation and want a more public confirmation, but no hard feelings from Ciasulli who says:
I am encouraged that Whole Foods has made the commitment to ban biosolids in their produce in 2014, and that the company will require supporting documentation from their suppliers. We expect Whole Foods to follow through in a real and meaningful way.
Whole Foods has been making an effort to get in touch more locally by offering fixed low-interest loans to local growing innovators, which has lifted their PR quotient quite a bit. After consumers started detecting GMO ingredients in Whole Foods' stores, they decided to adopt mandatory labeling of their GM products, rolling out in 2018.

But if you want to really bypass the whole sewage, lack of transparency thing, go here:

20 Places to Find Local Food and Family Farms Near You

Image: PR Watch

Heather Callaghan is a natural health blogger and food freedom activist. You can see her work at and Like at Facebook.

Recent posts by Heather Callaghan:

This article may be re-posted in full with attribution.


If you enjoy our work, please donate to keep our website going.


Anonymous said...

Is Whole Foods owned now by MONSANTO?

Anonymous said...

Well! It's evident the Controllers of this Planet, think of us Humans as animals to be given crap and then harvested!

They have also taught us, Humans, to have contempt for the other Living Beings and disdain them, and our own Nest.

On the way, tptb are doing evertthing to kill this Planet.

What they Harvest is War, Fear, Blood and Death here. This is their food, & has been for Millennia.

Do you need any more evidence than this, to see that tptb are NOT Native to Earth!

Anonymous said...

Errr, biosolids are used the world over as beneficial fertilisers and are only applied where they meet certain controls.

Anonymous said...

Looks like when they learned of this problem they moved to correct it. Wonder where these crops will be marketed now? It's hard to know the history of what we eat, but I still think Whole Foods Markets are out front in trying to handle the best quality foods they can, and are setting a standard others don't, and they are the ones getting derided when the big chains and box stores that don't seem to care get a pass.

Anonymous said...

It almost seems worth it, just to clear some of the smug out of the air.

Anonymous said...

You don't know what the hell that you are even talking about. The product is tested very rigorously for metals and industrial pollutants and under EPA law if it comes anywhere near an unsafe level it goes to a landfill and not the farm fields. Digested sludge has no living pathogens in it as it has been biologically oxidized as well as by heat.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

If the bio waste is properly composted it shouldn't be a problem. Humanure can be a game changer for all of us and also save us from water shortages.

Anonymous said...

no shit

KittyCatlover said...

I know some people who live in a housing edition near a farm that uses human waste. They say the stench is horrible and has brought all of their property values down.

I don't care if they removed all the toxins, metals, pharmaceuticals, etc. from human waste, I will NEVER eat ANYthing that's been grown with it. Disgusting!

Anonymous said...

i enjoy shitting in the garden. its natural.

Anonymous said...

the simple fact is that WHole Foods is now owned by Monsanto. And you want to continue to shop at Whole Foods? Why?

Post a Comment