Whole Foods maintains strict fertilizer policies

For farmers that grow and produce food, the chemicals used in the process may dictate a lot more than expected. All fertilizer labels should be clear about the chemicals involved so producers can know for sure if they are on the good side of all the partners they want to be.

Last year, "alternative" grocer Whole Foods announced that it will be barring the use of certain fertilizers in food that it purchases. Anyone who wants to present produce to this chain needs to be mindful of their list of "Unacceptable Ingredients," also available on their site Even the relatively food-illiterate will probably recognize some of the most egregious blacklisted items, like the dreaded MSG.

But the new ratings will not include all potential dangerous agents, and that's why this separate movement has so notably taken action to make its position on these additives clear. Starting this coming fall, the company announced, it will rank the sustainability of the different produce items on its shelves and in the store.

NPR covered this initiative and displayed some of the information about the use of "biosolids," also known as "sludge," and the Center for Media Democracy's Rebekah Wilce told the source about how dangerous it really can be. 

"The assumption has been that biosolids are safe, but there's been very little scientific research on that," she said.

Wastes may be out of sight and out of mind for most consumers, but that doesn't mean that they aren't going to be affected by these choices made behind the scenes. Once these announcements are made, adjustments to certain fertilizers might need to follow suit, along with the agricultural chemical labels that appear on those products.

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