AUSTIN, Texas (February 27, 2003) Whole Foods Market (NASDAQ: WFMI) strongly supports United States Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and 49 other bipartisan members of Congress who are co-sponsoring legislation to protect the integrity of organic labeling for American consumers.

As introduced by Senator Leahy to the Senate on Wednesday, February 26, 2003, the Organic Restoration Act (Senate Bill 457) would repeal a last minute, behind-closed-doors rider inserted into the recently signed 2003 Omnibus Appropriations Act. The rider, inserted at the request of a Georgia poultry producer, would permit livestock producers to label their meat and poultry products as “organic” even if the animals are fed partly or entirely on conventional feed rather than organic grains. The company claimed as their rationale, although incorrectly, that there is not enough organic feed available. The U.S. National Organic Standards, which came into effect only last October, require all feed to be organic in order for meat and poultry to be certified and labeled as organic.

“Whole Foods Market believes in support of the 100% organic livestock feed requirements as implemented in October 2002, truth in labeling, and belief in the public process,” says Margaret Wittenberg, vice president of governmental and public affairs for Whole Foods Market. “We're thankful that in addition to the senators who are co-sponsoring Senator Leahy's Organic Restoration Act, the United States Department of Agriculture and the Bush Administration are standing up for consumers by supporting the repeal of this loophole.”

However, more legislators are needed to co-sponsor legislative efforts to uphold organic integrity. Whole Foods Market urges its customers and all American consumers to contact their U.S. Senators and Representatives, and urge them to support repeal of this rider, known as Section 771 of the Omnibus Appropriations Bill. More information is available by clicking the “Take Action” box at