Brentwood Police vs. Protesters vs. Whole Foods

Protesters demonstrated against GMOs at Whole Foods on Saturday. Did police have the right to evict them from the parking lot with their signs?

Two questions came up around the Patch article, , which ran on Sunday.

  1. told demonstrators with signs on their cars and trucks in the parking lot they’d have to remove the signs. Who was in the right?
  2. The demonstrators said Whole Foods doesn’t adequately label all their products as being GMO (genetically modified organism) products or not. What about that?

Maj. Dan Fitzgerald, Assistant Chief of Police answered the first question.

“The owner of the property does not want sign carrying demonstrations on their property.  The same applies to signs on vehicles, as was the case Saturday,” he said.

“Our job is to explain the wishes of the property owner, and to inform the group that they may demonstrate on the public sidewalk, which they did for a while. This is the second time we have dealt with this group, and both times they were very cooperative.”

To address the second question, Sandy Griffin, with the protesting group, explained their objection to Whole Foods.

“Whole Foods does sell foods marked organic, and you can be pretty certain those do not contain GMOs. Everything that’s not organic may very likely contain GMOs, especially if they are soy or corn products,” she said.

She said the problem with those unlabeled items is that the majority of shoppers at Whole Foods believe just by going to Whole Foods they’re avoiding GMOs.

She said GMOs is an untested science.

Larry Austin, Whole Foods store team leader, first said he had no problem with the protesters. “People are free to voice their opinions on things,” he said.

Then he said no company has done as much as Whole Foods to try and combat GMO products.

“Eighty to 90 percent of the crops in the United States are from GMO corn or soy. It’s a big issue we are aware of,” he said. “The best thing to avoid GMOs is to buy organic or buy private label, 365.”


Jon August 21, 2012 at 08:37 PM
Alas, not all of Whole Foods Market's 365 brand items are GMO-free. Many are, many are not. How about they promise to add GMO content labeling at least to their own products? That's really not asking too much.


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