Thousands of Customers & Community Leaders Urge Whole Foods to Set Environmental Standards for Meat

Mighty Earth, a global environmental non-profit, delivered over 160,000 petitions to Whole Foods managers today in Austin TX; Chicago, IL; Fayetteville, AR; and Minneapolis, MN. These petitions have been signed by over 7,200 local residents and 160,000 global customers (via two online petitions), urging Whole Foods to set clear environmental standards for the meat sold in stores and to stop selling from highly polluting companies like Tyson and Cargill.

This petition delivery comes on the heels of Thanksgiving-themed rallies held in front of Whole Foods stores across the country last month, representing a coalition of 180 organizations committed to promoting sustainable food in their communities.

“It is clear that customers expect high sustainability standards when they shop at Whole Foods, and are shocked to find out dollars are being directed to some of the most polluting companies in the world when they buy meat,” said Mighty Earth Organizer in Austin, TX Lucas Judson. “Whole Foods needs to live up to their sustainable branding and set clear environmental standards for their meat.”

A report released by Mighty Earth found that Whole Foods has no environmental standards for the meat it buys, and that the company is sourcing from companies ranked by the EPA as among the top water polluters in the country- including Tyson Foods and Cargill, the same suppliers used by McDonald’s. The bulk of this pollution comes from toxins washing off fields that produce feed for Whole Foods meat, as well as irresponsibly managed manure that is often dumped directly into waterways across the United States. This pollution could be dramatically reduced through more sustainable farming practices for producing feed and managing manure, yet the industry has so far resisted adopting these reforms.

“As one of America’s largest grocery stores that buys large quantities of meat, Whole Foods has significant leverage to require meat suppliers to use environmentally responsible farming practices that keep our waters clean and communities healthy- and the public expects them to use it” noted Anya Fetcher, a resident and campaign volunteer for Mighty Earth in Austin, TX.

The McWholeFoods campaign is working to educate and mobilize customers across the country to demand Whole Foods strengthen its sustainability standards for meat suppliers to reduce water and climate pollution. Despite growing calls from customers, Whole Foods has so far refused to respond to the demands of hundreds of thousands of customers that they set environmental standards for meat. Campaigners will be meeting with store managers in Chicago, IL; Fayetteville, AR; Austin, TX; and Minneapolis, MN to deliver petitions and request a response from the company executive headquarters.