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‘Walmarting’ Organics: Who Wins?

Wal-Mart announced last week that it will soon start partnering with Wild Oats to sell organic pantry items like tomato paste and broth at prices as low as 25 percent below other name-brand organic products. What could be wrong with that? In the short term, probably nothing. But in the long term, it could ultimately enable the mega-retailer to dominate the organic market the way it dominates whole swaths of the retail economy, from razor blades to recycling bins. Read more

All the News That’s Fit to Eat: Cheap Organics, Anti-GMO-Labeling Bill, and Milk Hormones

1. Walmart’s New Line of Organic Food will Undercut Big Brands (New York Times)

The big news this week was the new partnership between Walmart and Wild Oats, the former natural grocery store chain, which is rolling out a line of inexpensive organic products. Walmart only plans to carry the company’s shelf-stable pantry items for now, but the move could make a splash with both consumers and farmers. Read more

Labor Takes Historic Stride Forward as Walmart Joins Fair Food Program

The struggle for labor justice in the fields of the United States—and perhaps far beyond—took an historic stride forward yesterday. At a folding table in a metal-clad produce packing shed beside a tomato field in southwestern Florida, two high-ranking executives from the giant retailer Walmart, which sells more groceries than any other company in the world, sat down beside two Mexican farmworkers and signed an agreement to join the Fair Food Program. Read more

Walmart and the Grinch Who Stole Thanksgiving

Today, as we dig into our Thanksgiving leftovers–for us, that’s pumpkin pudding and my mother-in-laws famous nutloaf–we’ll be thinking about the Walmart workers around the country who are bravely stepping away from their jobs to bring attention to the paltry pay and poor working conditions by the country’s largest private employer. Read more

Ask Walmart to Support Healthier Animal Farming

Today, together with Causes.Com, I’m launching a new petition to take on what government officials and medical experts are increasingly calling a growing threat to public health: The overuse of antibiotics on animal farms. The petition is expected to reach as many as a half million Internet viewers this week. Petition signers are asking Walmart’s CEO, Mike Duke, to demand that its meat suppliers only use medically necessary antibiotics when an animal is sick, rather than to prevent sickness because animals are crammed in conditions that breed infection. Read more

Will a Federal Compromise on GMO Labeling Trump State Law, Forever?

Recent reports of secret meetings among industry reps and the Food and Drug Adminstration over GMO labeling piqued my interest, mostly because this critical aspect was missing: any effort to label GE foods at the federal level could bring the current grassroots movement to a grinding halt by preventing any stronger local laws from ever being enacted. But I am getting ahead of myself.

Last month, Ronnie Cummins, director of the Organic Consumers Association and one of the leaders of the GMO labeling effort, recently published an article about how “representatives of Wal-Mart, General Mills, Pepsi-Frito Lay, Mars, Coca-Cola and others” met with the FDA on January 11 “to lobby for a mandatory federal GMO labeling law.” Read more

Corporate Lovebirds of the Mutant Corn

Today, some will feel the sting of cupid’s arrow and fill their days with red roses and chocolate (hopefully fair trade) and a romantic dinner at a fancy restaurant. Other people call today Black Tuesday and will boycott all the hype and commercial schmaltz and stay home, maybe alone, eating leftovers. Still others will eschew people and proclaim their love of profit above all else. This is a love story about the latter category. Sure, we may not consider these two dollar-signs-in-their-eyes lovers people, but the Supreme Court does, so they deserve to couple up like the rest of us, right? 

He’s a mad scientist who got rich producing chemical agents for war in his lab and is now trying to pawn off those old toxic chemicals as pesticides and herbicides and squeeze as much money as possible out of raindrops. He calls himself GE Seed King, but we know him as Monsanto.

She ran away from her small hometown in Arkansas to take over every suburb and rural town in America and is now setting her sights on urban centers and every country in the world. To her inner circle, she’s known as Big Box Mama, but to us, she’s Walmart.  Read more

Tell Walmart to Reject New GMO Sweet Corn

This growing season there’s a new GMO in town: Monsanto’s GE sweet corn. This Roundup Ready product is the first GE corn for direct human consumption, and it has not been tested by the USDA and will not be labeled. If you’re unhappy about this, you’re not alone. The majority of consumers don’t want to eat genetically modified foods, and 95 percent feel strongly that they should be labeled.  Many retailers, including Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and General Mills, have already agreed to not use GE Sweet Corn in any of their products—but Walmart, the country’s largest grocer and self-proclaimed sustainability adherent, has yet to make such a promise. Read more

Is Walmart’s March into Cities Helping or Hurting?

Having saturated the rural landscape, shuttering local stores in small town America along the way, now, in the wake of stagnant sales and increased competition, Walmart desperately needs to expand into urban markets.

And what better urban market than one full of eight million people? While the big box retailer is eager to enter the Big Apple, challenges loom large. Given the negative reputation Walmart has earned for being hostile to workers among other problems, many New Yorkers are skeptical, to put it mildly.

To counter the opposition, Walmart is positioning itself as the solution to urban food deserts – areas where finding real food is next to impossible. But as Anna Lappé has eloquently argued, the big box chain isn’t the answer: “Let’s be clear, expanding into so-called food deserts is an expansion strategy for Walmart. It’s not a charitable move.” Read more