Biosolid bashing helps keep Whole Foods on top - The Packer

Biosolid bashing helps keep Whole Foods on top

02/07/2014 10:25:00 AM
Chuck Robinson

Chuck Robinson, Assistant Copy ChiefChuck Robinson, Assistant Copy ChiefThey prefer to call biosolids “sewage sludge,” as do most critics. Their website has a funny image of a disgusted little boy’s face of 1950s vintage looking at what presumably is a pile of human excrement.

“This food may have been grown in sewage sludge,” it reads.


Others piling on the bandwagon get to use phrases like “The Sludge Hits The Fan” and other scatological references.

The biosolids announcement from Whole Foods was part of an announcement in the fall that by next fall the chain plans to launch a rating system for produce and flowers sold in its stores to help shoppers make more informed purchases based on farmworker welfare, pollinator protection, water conservation, soil health, ecosystems, biodiversity, waste and recycling, energy and climate.

Somehow, all that is going to be distilled to a rating of good, better and best.

With such a list corners will have to be cut and compromises made to force every product into this tidy three-tiered system. The larger question of what to do with biosolids is not a worthy consideration.

Be suspicious of the scientists who say it is safe. Everyone seems to believe scientists to be suspicious characters.

To a certain extent, it seems Whole Foods builds its business by building on biases and fears to scare people to its products. That set of fears is dressed in nice, clean stores with smart decor, specialty items and tasty carryout items.

It is a successful business model.

Well, that sounds like I am banging on Whole Foods something fierce. That is not really fair. Perhaps it’s because Whole Foods brings up the social issues that I was ticked off by their little biosolids storm.

I suppose people’s fears push them to buy lots of what we sell.

Eat cauliflower or risk dying of a heart attack. Blueberries or cancer: your choice. Maybe we should study Whole Foods for marketing tips.

What's your take? Leave a comment and tell us your opinion.

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Caroline Snyder    
North Sandwich NH 03259-0038  |  February, 08, 2014 at 10:53 AM

The Whole Foods decision is based on the growing scientific consensus that the nation's food --yes food IS grown with sludge-- should not be fertilized with an unpredictable toxic mixture of industrial and human waste. For more information see

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