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Pesticide Action Network

Whole Foods stepping up for bees where feds fail

For Immediate Release: October 15, 2014
Contact: Paul Towers, 916-216-1082, [email protected]

Late yesterday, Whole Foods Market announced the launch of a new program that ranks fruits, vegetables and flowers based on the supplier’s farming practices. The news also comes in the same week that fast food giant McDonald’s announced additional transparency around its ingredients, even though the corporation largely failed to address concerns about supplier practices.

The new Whole Foods program rewards suppliers that take steps to protect air, water, soil and human health. The new program also supplements the Equitable Food Initiative, an important new farming standard — developed by a wide variety of stakeholders including farmworkers, farmers and retailers — that protects workers and ensures food safety.

Over 450 Highly Hazardous Pesticides are used in food and farming around the globe, and the new Whole Foods program prohibits or restricts use of several dozen of those, including the four primary neonicotinoid pesticides (clothianidin, dinotefuran, imidacloprid, and thiamethoxam) linked to bee declines.  

Paul Towers, spokesperson for PAN, released the following statement:

“Whole Foods is stepping up and other retailers should follow suit. The transparent program gives shoppers more choices about what’s on their food and how it’s grown, including purchasing fruits and vegetables that protect pollinators, farmworkers and children.

In particular, the new program rewards farmers that adopt bee-friendly farming practices and limit the use of bee-harming pesticides. Farmers play a critical role in promoting healthy habitat and forage for bees, as well as eliminating the use of neonicotinoid pesticides that are linked to bee declines.

Collectively, Whole Foods and other retailers can shift the marketplace to protect public health and the environment. At the same time, voluntary programs shouldn’t take the place of government regulators who are falling down on the job. As thousands of pesticides remain on the market, Americans shouldn’t have to only rely on grocery stores to step up.”


Pesticide Action Network North America (PAN North America, or PANNA) works to replace the use of hazardous pesticides with ecologically sound and socially just alternatives. As one of five PAN Regional Centers worldwide, we link local and international consumer, labor, health, environment and agriculture groups into an international citizens’ action network. This network challenges the global proliferation of pesticides, defends basic rights to health and environmental quality, and works to ensure the transition to a just and viable society.

Picture of Pesticide Action Network

Pesticide Action Network

Pesticide Action Network is dedicated to advancing alternatives to pesticides worldwide. Follow @pesticideaction

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