AUSTIN, Texas (June 6, 2003) Whole Foods Market (NASDAQ: WFMI), the world's largest natural and organic foods supermarket, proudly announced today it is the first national grocer to have its retail operations designated as “Certified Organic” by Quality Assurance International (QAI), a federally recognized independent third-party certification organization. The voluntary certification is just one more example of the retailer's commitment to the promotion of organic agriculture and the integrity of the certified organic label.
“Earning organic certification is further proof of Whole Foods Market's unwavering commitment to organics that began when our first store opened almost 23 years ago,” said Margaret Wittenberg, vice president of governmental and public affairs for Whole Foods Market and a former five-year member of U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Organic Standards board. “Americans can trust that Whole Foods Market upholds the highest standards when handling organic products. We strive to present great organic offerings to our customers and to make a difference.”
QAI's Organic Certification Program for Retailers verifies businesses handle organic goods according to stringent national guidelines from receipt through repacking and finally to sale to consumers. Organic integrity is ensured from the farm to shopping bag. In order to receive certification, retailers must adhere to strict standards set forth by the USDA's National Organic Program, submit documentation, and open facilities to on-site inspections — all designed to assure Americans that the chain of organic integrity is preserved.
All Whole Foods Market retail stores are “certified organic.” And in addition to our more than 140 stores, Whole Foods Market has facilities and product lines that have also been “certified organic” through their own organic handling plans, including: o All seven of our regional distribution centers o Our 365 Organic Everyday Value™ private label product line o Our Allegro Coffee™ line o Our Whole Kids™ private label product line o Three offsite bakehouses (Los Angeles, Boston, North Carolina) o Our Authentic Food Artisan™ (AFA) artisan vendors For more information, contact: Michael Duffield / Whole Foods Market (512) 485-3600 ext. 3060 email: firstname.lastname@example.org or Greer Bautz / Cone, Inc. 617-227-2111 email: email@example.com