Is Whole Foods really better?

Some of you may have seen The Food Babe’s campaign to have Subway take azodicarbonamide, the industrial chemical used in plastics, out of their sandwich breads. More recently the Environmental Working Group put out a list of 500 foods also containing azodicarbonamide. (Click here to see the link or visit me on Facebook) As I scanned the list, I racked my brain trying to remember if I buy any of these products. The list includes everything from 100% whole wheat bread, to perogies. The list of companies is also very extensive. Sun-maid (cinnamon-swirl bread), Weight-watchers Smart Ones, Smuckers, Sara Lee, Pillsbury, Mariano’s, and even a deceiving company called “Earthgrains” all use this chemical in at least one of their products. As I searched the list, I wondered how I could possibly remember all of these products or names. The list is just too long. I considered printing it out and taking it with me but that seemed way too cumbersome.

Yesterday, I went to Whole Foods to do my grocery shopping and once again I spent a small fortune. Feeding a family of four (Chris’s brother has been living with us) is no joke. I usually end up at Whole Foods 2-3 times per week. I’m kind of embarrassed to say that I probably spend about $300/week on groceries. Yes, I know that I could save money by going to another grocery store and I do try to get some things from our local fruit market as well as Trader Joe’s but admittedly, I don’t always get to these other stores. I love Whole Foods and I’ve come to trust them. As I was checking out yesterday ($215 or so later) I started to wonder why it is that I trust them. Prior to last night, I had never looked up Whole Food’s quality standards. I do know that they are the first grocery chain to make an effort to label all foods containing GMO’s (by 2018) but they do sell these products. As I swiped my credit card, I started to wonder if I’m actually getting better products or if I just perceive them to be better because they are more expensive.

A quick search on Whole Foods’s website; however, revealed the truth. I easily found the list of “unacceptable ingredients for foods” and since they are listed in alphabetical order it was easy to see that azodicarbonamide is on that list. Yey! I haven’t been purchasing my bread with plastic ingredients. This list also included some 70 (+) other ingredients including high fructose corn syrup and artificial colors. I commend Whole Foods on their efforts to keep our food safe.

I will; however, say that it is unfortunate that clean food is not available to the masses. Everyone can’t afford to shop at Whole Foods and everyone should have healthy, real food available to them. Hopefully as we continue to speak with our wallets other companies will start to listen and this too will change.

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