Saturday, November 17, 2007

For some time now the United Farm Workers of America have been organizing at the Beef Northwest feedlots to improve workers' labour conditions. As part of this effort they have put pressure on the employer by releasing information concerning the use of illegal drugs in the beef marketed as "natural". In particular they have asked people to put pressure on Whole Foods, an American organic food chain-store, to stop stocking beef from this supplier. For more on the situation at Beef Northwest go to . In response to a previous appeal Whole Foods has replied with a email claiming that their store has strict quality controls to ensure standards. Molly received one such reply in response to her letter to Whole Foods. What the email failed to mention is any actual testing procedures that may assure that this claim is true. What follows is the UFW's second appeal in which they ask members of the public to put further pressure on Whole Foods.
"Since we put out our alert on Wednesday, November 14, thousands have contacted Whole Foods to express their concern about the use of illegal drugs on cows fattened at the Beef Northwest feedlots. Whole Foods sells Country natural Beef. Country Natural Beef's cows are fattened exclusively at the Beef Northwest feedlots. In addition, the owner of Beef Northwest, John Wilson, is also a member of the Country natural Beef co-op. The FDA recently warned Beef Northwest about the use of illegal drugs on cows. In their letter the FDA calls the meat treated with these drugs "adulterated" and "unsafe".
Whole Foods responded to concerned citizens who sent them an email, by claiming that they "have controls in place to ensure that the meat sold in our stores meet our strict quality standards". Whole Foods, however, makes no mention on either their website or in their emails regarding any testing protocols in place to ensure that the meat they sell does not contain unsafe levels of these drugs.
This is not the first time that Whole Foods has overstated their position. Whole Foods used to advertise Country natural Beef (CNB) as "grass fed". In August we pointed out to Whole Foods that there is not a blade of grass to be seen at the feedlots. Country Natural Beef cows were fed grain, cooked potatoes and dark, used vegetable oil during the approximately three months they were at Beef Northwest's feedlot prior to slaughter.
By coming forth and sharing this information, beef Northwest workers are risking their jobs. Please stand up for these workers and make sure that Beef Northwest does not retaliate against them for speaking the truth. Tell Whole Foods to cut the bull. Demand that Whole Foods test all the meat it sells to ensure that it doesn't contain unsafe levels of illegal drugs. "
To join this campaign go to
or the site on the situation at Beef Northwest at

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