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Whole Foods Organic: Made In China?

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Read The Fine Print

Whole Foods, in their 275 stores, charges organic prices alright for their organic food, but it turns out plenty of this produce is Made in China.

What kind of organic standards are being met there? Is it consistent? According to this story by ABC News, it is at best highly suspect and at worst a total scam.

Obviously, it is better to buy local produce for so many other reasons: the much lower carbon footprint, the fact that you're supporting local farms, eating what is in season - we know all this very well!

However, sometimes you might opt to shop at Whole Foods when no local produce is available. So here is information from both sides- now you be the judge.

So as to give voice to both sides, here is the response from Whole Foods to this news story, written by Joe Dickson, Organic Certification Coordinator for Whole Foods Market, posted on their website (http://blog.wholefoodsmarket.com/whole-foods-market-responds-to-wjla/)

"Organic products from China can absolutely be certified organic to the exact same standard as domestic products. While China has had a number of food quality issues in the news in the past year, it does not mean everything grown in the entire country is unsafe. Since 2002, the USDAs National Organic Standards have governed exactly what can be sold as organic in the US how its grown, processed and handled regardless of where in the world its grown, INCLUDING China. Organic integrity is ensured every step of the way. For example, a broccoli grower in China must be visited and certified to the USDA organic standards by a certifying agent that is approved and supervised by the USDA. If that broccoli is processed in a packaging plant, that plant must also be visited and certified by a certifying agent, who verifies that the handling and ingredients of the product comply with the standard. This structure is the backbone of organic integrity under the USDA organic standard everyone who grows or handles organic food must be certified and audited by a USDA-accredited certifier. The USDA then provides audits and oversight of the certifiers to ensure that they are enforcing the standard and upholding organic integrity."

Your choice -- but you should know that "Organic" does NOT necessarily mean "Local" at Whole Foods. Read the fine print!

--Bibi Farber

This video was produced by Channel 7 ABC News