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Pollinators Protected in Whole Foods New Green Food Production Protocols

In what's viewed as a significant move towards global sustainable agriculture and environmental stewardship, 500-US, UK and Canadian, Whole Foods Market stores have unveiled a new pollinator policy for its Fresh Produce and Floral purchasing division.

The Whole Foods policy aims to bolster the well-being of pollinators and acknowledges their pivotal role in the global food system and ecosystem health bees and other native pollinators play.

hive bee pollinating pumpkin flower

Source: Matthew Lakeland - Unsplash Hive honeybee pollinating a pumpkin flower.

This initiative underscores Whole Foods Market's ongoing commitment to organic agriculture, strictly prohibiting the use of toxic persistent pesticides which have a known impact on pollinators.

As part of this groundbreaking policy, slated for full implementation by 2025, the company has outlined several key directives:

  • Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Adoption: Whole Foods Market will mandate all fresh produce and floral growers adopt an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) system. IPM prioritises preventative and biological pest control methods, significantly reducing reliance on chemical pesticides.

  • Ban on Nitroguanidine Neonicotinoids: The policy prohibits the use of nitroguanidine neonicotinoids, including clothianidin, dinotefuran, imidacloprid, and thiamethoxam, in all potted plants sold by the company.

  • Encouraging Neonicotinoid Phase-Out: Whole Foods Market will actively encourage all its fresh produce and floral suppliers to phase out the use of nitroguanidine neonicotinoids in their operations.

Whole Foods Market vegetable display

Source: Wholefoods Market - Almost 90% of the produce shown in the image requires pollination by bees or native pollinators.

The company is also expanding its focus beyond honeybees to embrace native pollinators like bumblebees, wasps, and butterflies, recognising their vital contribution to the food system and their role as indicators of biodiversity.

Karen Christensen, Senior Vice President of Perishables & Quality Standards at Whole Foods Market, confirms the company's commitment.

'We understand the important role pollinators play in our food system and, through this policy, will build on our long legacy of supporting biodiversity and pollinator health,' says Karen Christensen.

The company is also working collaboratively within the industry encouraging suppliers to phase out neonicotinoid use, a harmful substance for pollinators. Suppliers like Rainier Fruit are already leading the way by dedicating 150 acres to pollinator habitat and maintaining 325 Bee Better Certified® orchard acres in partnership with the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.

For more information on Whole Foods Market's commitment to pollinator health and sustainability, visit their CLICK HERE



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