The following was submitted in response to the articles we published on the Whole Foods Banned ingredient list.
I am writing in response to the December 4, 2013 and December 12, 2013 blog entries, “The Whole Foods Banned Ingredient List is Wholly Flawed,” and “The Whole Foods Unacceptable Ingredient List is Wholly Unacceptable.” These posts were based upon some misunderstandings of Whole Foods Market’s Premium Body Care standard, and I would like to take this opportunity to clear up some of the misinformation:
Clearing up a misunderstanding
1. Purpose of the list. Our Premium Body Care ingredient list was compiled from ingredients found in products in Whole Foods Market stores only. In the process of crafting Premium Body Care, the ingredients on our shelves were evaluated one by one and screened, not only for their source, but the safety, environmental impact, and the efficacy of the ingredients were also examined. Historically, Premium Body Care was launched at a time when there were no other retail standards for natural personal care in the US, and its intent was to educate customers and to distinguish the personal care products products sold at Whole Foods Market from those of other retailers. As a living, dynamic standard, Premium Body Care is unique to Whole Foods Market;
ingredient classifications are made specific to our products and to our stores, and each ingredient has a rationale for its status.
2. As found on labels. We made the decision to include ingredients on this list as they are found on labels (not accounting for manufacturers’ errors), for the sake of our buyers, given the list is used as a buying guide internally. That said, we identify such ingredients as non-INCI compliant on our internal list and we require that our suppliers list ingredients on label properly in INCI terminology.
3. Betaine clarification. And a clarification regarding betaines: we do allow betaines as part of our Premium Body Care standard, so long as the supplier is able to provide documentation showing that these ingredients are made from a renewable source. This qualifier had always been part of our internal Premium Body Care ingredient list, and now we have also included this information on our public list as well, thanks to your feedback. Keep in mind that the version of the list on our public website is intended for customers, and only includes ingredients designated as unacceptable.
I hope that this has cleared up some of the confusion, and going forward, feel free to reach out to us directly. We have put a lot of time and energy into crafting our standards, and we would welcome the opportunity to dialog further if you had any additional questions.
Global Quality Standards Coordinator
Whole Foods Market