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October 1, 2013
AUSTINIn September 2014, Whole Foods Market® will label produce on a three-tier rating system using a science-based index to measure performance on criteria for sustainable farming.
Foods in the produce department will display ratings of good," better" or best" based on this new index, developed with the help of sustainable agriculture experts and input from suppliers. The index measures important sustainable farming topics, including pest management (prohibited and restricted pesticides), farmworker welfare, pollinator protection, water conservation/protection, soil health ecosystems, biodiversity, waste, recycling/packaging, energy and climate.
Suppliers who receive fair trade, rainforest alliance, protected harvest and demeter biodynamic certification will be rewarded through the ratings, as well as growers who implement specific pesticide practices to protect pollinators, like habitat restoration and by controlling the impact of managed hives on farms.
Whole Foods Market aims to reduce pesticide use and its risks to consumers, farmworkers, wildlife and the environment by encouraging suppliers to eliminate or restrict the most toxic pesticides from the nations food supply. Incentives will be provided for growers to measure and reduce other pesticide use.
The ratings also will recognize growers who address genetically-modified organism (GMO) transparency, food safety and traceability. The company plans to require all products in all Canadian and U.S. stores to include labels specifying whether the food contains GMOs by 2018.
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