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Whole Foods: Still a haven for quackery and antivaccine nonsense under Amazon

Whole Foods was purchased by Amazon in 2017. If you thought that would make a difference in the selling of quackery by Whole Foods, you thought wrong. Homeopathy and antivaccine quackery still rule there.

Whole Foods. To be honest, I haven’t really thought much about Whole Foods ever since it was purchased by Amazon. Actually, I hadn’t thought much about Whole Foods before that. Sure, I mentioned it a few times, beginning in 2008 with a bit where the late Dan Olmstead claimed to have heard (secondhand, of course) a bit of information that “they” knew that mercury in vaccines causes autism. Occasionally, I mentioned Whole Foods because Mike Adams attacked it for supporting breast cancer awareness, how Seth Mnookin mentioned Whole Foods’ antivaccine stylings as if to condemn the left as antivaccine when in fact the founder of Whole Foods was an anti-union Libertarian and admirer of Ayn Rand, and how Whole Foods sells all sorts of “gluten-free” skin products, and other woo being promoted by Whole Foods.

Whole Foods

That history aside, I had (mostly) forgotten about Whole Foods and hadn’t written about it for a while, even though there’s one a mere two blocks from where I work that I occasionally go to when I have time to get lunch or to pick up a few things. Then, yesterday, I saw this article by Maddie Stone:

If you look past the colorful organic produce displays and sustainably-sourced seafood counter, however, you’ll start to notice incongruities. There’s nothing particularly healthful, for instance, about the homeopathy aisle — a section of Whole Foods’ Whole Body Department that sells 19th century pseudoscience masquerading as cold and flu remedies — or the shelves filled with supplements and probiotics making claims that often don’t hold up to scientific scrutiny.

But all of this pales in comparison to the disinformation Whole Foods is selling in its check-out aisle: magazines with articles promoting vaccine skepticism.

Insider recently found several magazines that have run articles raising unfounded concerns about the safety or efficacy of vaccines. These messages are not only out of line with the mainstream medical consensus, they are actively dangerous, according to public health experts.

I must admit that I’ve never looked inside an issue of the magazines sold by Whole Foods promoting antivaccine misinformation. Oh, sure, I’ve wandered down the aisles where Whole Foods in Midtown Detroit sold (and still sells) pure quackery.

Tell me more, Ms. Stone. Tell me more…about Well Being Journal:

Scattered amongst the breezy magazines devoted to healthy cooking and pet care are titles like Well Being Journal, a bi-monthly publication sold at Whole Foods stores in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago and Philadelphia, among other locations. It has published articles that tout medically unsupported homeopathic therapies as “non-toxic” alternatives to vaccination. Others promote the debunked link between the MMR vaccine and autism. One particularly egregious article in a 2017 issue, adapted from a defunct anti-vaccine website, is literally titled “MMR Vaccine Causes Autism.”

It’s not Whole Foods, though. It’s also Sprouts, Natural Grocers, and Barnes & Noble, although Whole Foods has more locations. Well Being Journal, unsurprisingly, features articles touting discredited vaccine-autism claims and even articles by an old “friend” of this blog, J.B. Handley. It also features this sort of content:

Another issue from 2018 features an excerpt from vaccine skeptic and family physician Richard Moskowitz’s book “Vaccines: A Reappraisal.” It includes a lengthy compilation of “clinical perspectives” on vaccines that hit many of the anti-vaccination movement’s favorite talking points. In the excerpt, prominent anti-vaccine doctor Sherri Tenpenny asserts that vaccines weren’t responsible for eradicating polio (they were), while homeopathic doctor Toni Bark compares mandatory vaccination policies to forced medical procedures performed in Nazi Germany.

The magazine commonly features articles written by alternative medicine gurus — naturopaths, acupuncturists, energy healers, intuitives, and some medical doctors — on topics like meditation, chronic illness, and toxins in consumer products. But these pieces promoting vaccine skepticism aren’t anomalies.

Sherri Tenpenny? I just wrote about Sherri Tenpenny just yesterday. She’s still spreading antivaccine misinformation, only this time in a manner that can truly cause harm, as she’s trying to convince people in Samoa that measles isn’t dangerous and that the measles vaccine is the cause of the outbreak through “shedding.”

Then there’s Natural Awakenings. I’ve mentioned the magazine before. It’s a quack magazine. It’s antivaccine, too:

When Insider reached out to Scott Miners, founder and executive editor of the Well Being Journal, he said in an email that the magazine is not “against vaccines” but rather seeks to foster “an informed discussion” and “find the truth for the good of all.”

Miners defended the book excerpt by JB Handley, noting that it does not precisely assert that vaccines cause autism. While that’s technically true, the excerpt does state that there is “clear and compelling scientific evidence that supports the connection between vaccines and autism,” which is false.

No, this is not an “informed discussion.” Rather, it’s a misinformed discussion that results in what I like to refer to as “misinformed consent” or, as I’ve been calling it more recently, misinformed refusal to consent. As for J.B. Handley, his claims are so easy to deconstruct and refute that one wonders why he even bothers.

It’s not surprising to me that Whole Foods is providing a home for antivaccine misinformation, although, in fairness, I must point out that Whole Foods is far from the only store that distributes Natural Awakenings.

I must also pick a few nits:

To Hotez, the fact that Whole Foods, like its parent company, has apparently turned a blind eye to vaccine skepticism on its shelves isn’t surprising. Anecdotally, he said, the affluent, educated, liberal-leaning consumer base Whole Foods targets appears to be particularly susceptible to anti-vaccination messaging.

As much as I admire Dr. Peter Hotez, I can’t help but note that (1) antivaccine nonsense is the pseudoscience that spans the political spectrum and (2) the founder of Whole Foods was anything but liberal, and the selling of nonsense at Whole Foods began very early in its history.

Although I’m always happy to see pushback against antivaccine propaganda in mainstream sources, I also can’t help but observe that this story is a bit of a nothingburger. For one thing, as I mentioned above, Natural Awakenings is a throwaway free magazine that I can find at way more places than just Whole Foods. I’ve seen it at a local Coney Island that I frequent. I’ve seen it at a local specialty food store that my wife and I sometimes go to. I’ve seen it a few other places too. I don’t recall having seen Well Being Journal around my neck of the woods, though.) In any event, if you look at the Natural Awakenings corporate website, it prominently brags about having a $1.5 trillion marketplace, being the #5 health and fitness magazine, having published for 25 years, and having 3+ million readers a month.

Just for yucks, I perused the version of the magazine being sold in Michigan. The December issue features the sponsored profile of a profile of a local chiropractor, who “specializes in chiropractic combined with functional nutrition to help patients obtain natural pain relief, balance hormones and employ nutrition for anti-aging protocols and adrenal fatigue. In addition to providing chiropractic adjustments,” he offers applied Kinesiology, lab testing, whole-food-based nutritional supplements, cold laser, stretches, exercise and pulsed electromagnetic field therapy. Then there’s an interview with orthopedic surgeon Mary Neal, who had a near death experience during which, according to here, she got a glimpse of the afterlife and now preaches that God and the afterlife are real. In other issues, there’s another sponsored profile of a reflexologist and a “wholistic” veterinarian who offers “fewer conventional drugs and limited vaccinations.” Of course, there’s also an article on “natural” ways to keep your thyroid healthy. Then, of course, there’s this article that does the “both sides” approach giving credence to antivaccine views. You get the idea. There’s a lot of woo; so of course there’s antivaccine woo. It goes with the territory.

Whole Foods

In the end, Whole Foods’ letting the distributors of a couple of free magazines that promote “natural” quackery is just part of the package that is Whole Foods’ promotion of nonsense. Of course Whole Foods stocks these sorts of free rags! It sells homeopathy, supplements, “detox” cleanses, gluten-free everything, whether it ever had gluten in it or not or whether it’s even meant to be consumed. Antivaccine pseudoscience is part and parcel of the whole package, because if you’re selling homeopathy you’re almost certainly selling antivaccine nonsense as well.

Don’t get me wrong. I like seeing Whole Foods called out for this. Also, since Amazon bought Whole Foods, you’d think that, given its proclaimed efforts to remove movies promoting quackery from Amazon Prime and dubious quackery from sale on Amazon itself, it might want to take a look at one of its more prominent acquisitions from the last few years.

Whole Foods Detroit

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

63 replies on “Whole Foods: Still a haven for quackery and antivaccine nonsense under Amazon”

Wholefoods isn’t unique for selling homeopathy either. Many stores have those products, at least in the San Francisco Bay Area, sometimes mixed in with real, say, cold medicine.

Like you, I have no problem with calling this out, but it’s not just Wholefoods.

At the Walgreens where I pick up my medicine, the pharmacy has a little “1, 2, 3” plan for fighting the flu. Get the vaccine (yes), wash your hands (yes, maybe less about the flu than other illnesses, but good practice), and take supplements – no. Right next to their aisle full of supplements.

As a celiac, I am forced to frequent health food stores on occasion. I avoid the aisles filled with woo (supplements, etc.) and try to avert my eyes from the worst of the printed matter they’re hawking.

I agree with Doritt. Every natural foods grocery has this stuff. In fact every CVS, Walmart, Kroger’s, Walgreens, and any reasonably large grocery has this stuff, just in cheaper brands.

Whole Foods has a lot of organic junk food, but then again so increasingly do the big chains. I’ve even seen organic peanut butter with adding sugar and partially hydrogenated vegetable oil. At least Whole Foods peanut butter doesn’t have that. And Whole Foods selections of healthy foods like vegetables, nuts, and legumes is better and higher quality.

The main reason I prefer natural food stores is that I don’t feel like I’m not wanted while I wander the soda aisle looking for La Croix or sort through the fluffy white bread.

Do the staff at Whole Foods mispronounce “legumes” as lay-gooms – which are French vegetables, not members of Fabaceae.

My bird feeder featured whole food today. A merlin came in and ate one of the starlings (which shouldn’t even be here at this time of year), though it did leave some bits behind.

This is the reason that I refuse to spend any money at Whole Foods. Imagine, an entire store with a business model based upon pseudoscience, fear, uncertainty, and doubt. The mind boggles. There’s a Whole Foods near me. I drive right past it on my way to a nearby Wegman’s. I doubt that any retailer is completely innocent, but Whole Foods is by far the worst offender.

I only shop there for ingredients for cooking I can’t get anywhere else. Other than that, I find their products over priced and little different that what I get at Kroger.

An image Orac (The One) used in this post shows a Enzymedica plastic-bottle labeled “Digest Gold.” Hmm, gold is chemically inert, and won’t breakdown during digestion.

Q. In the milky way galaxy, what is the only “thing” that can digest gold.
A. Black hole.

@ Orac,

All I want for Christmas is unsupervised freedom-of-speech at RI for the year 2020. Can you do this for me?

You don’t need a black hole to digest gold. A simple 3:1 mixture of hydrochloric and nitric acids known as aqua regia is sufficient to do so. This was known to medieval alchemy.

Yup. Good ole aqua regia. What they used to save Max von Laue’s and James Franck’s Nobel medals from the nazis.

Actually, I have a Natural Awakenings sitting on my table right now.
Whole Foods is truly a haven for woo and overpriced flowers and vegetables. I used to go to one nearby** ( there are THREE within 10 miles) where we would get the buffet but discovered we could eat at a much posher real restaurant for nearly the same amount. It has aisles and aisles of health and beauty products – crazy stuff- Ayurvedic shampoo, meditation candles, organic makeup and skincare, woo books etc.

-btw- Orac: ” I’ve seen it at a local Coney Island” I actually know what that means: my mother taught me at a young age that people from Chicago and other Midwestern cities call hotdogs “Coney Islanders”. Very cool.

** it has a scenic parking lot with a view of the skyline and may be where Dr Oz himself shops: a restaurant a mile away advertised itself as being where he got Thai food. ( he lives on the cliff overlooking Whole Foods)

In other news..
NJ is trying to advance a law that will eliminate the religious exemption for vaccines today; it has been stalled a few times but perhaps recent events may shift the balance towards its acceptance ( NJ Spotlight)

I don’t understand how somebody who has been injured by vaccines can be a quack when a federal court rules in his/her favor. I’m just trying to make sense of this debate. I’ve heard both sides.

Your comment is not even wrong.
Antivaxxers insist that vaccines cause events that they couldn’t possibly, including autism and SIDS. They make all sorts of claims of unspecified harms but fail to support them.They are adamant that “vaccine shedding” is dangerous but that getting the diseases is just fine.

I hate to divert the conversation but I’m a bit confused about the midwesterners and Chicagoans calling hotdogs Coney Islanders.

Chicagoans are dead serious about hot dogs and have their own distinct hot dog tradition complete with very specific toppings. The Chicago dog . Catsup is apostasy. Cheese is acceptable for small children and rubes.

Apart from older baby Boomers ands fans of Beretta (one in the same?) who might refer to a chili dog as a Coney Island dog, I can assure you that no one in the Chicago area is a calling basic hotdog a Coney Island and the Detroit/Coney Island dog is referred to almost universally as a Chili Dog. Nathan’s is considered comprehensively inferior to local giant Vienna Beef.

Interestingly, the Detroit or Coney Island dog was created in Fort Wayne Indiana. Hotdogs are no joke in Chicago.

I learned this from my mother when I was 10. I was surpised to hear that appellation from Orac.

I have misgivings about the Coney Island Grille. I contracted Salmonella there after eating an omelette in the store in the Detroit airport a few years ago.

I’ll allow a BRIEF detour.

Of course, what I was referring to is the Detroit phenomenon known as the Coney Island restaurant. Coney Islands are diners, usually owned or founded by Greek immigrants, that feature Coney Island hot dogs, but they feature a lot more than that, in particular gyros, other Greek and Mediterranean fare, plus your basic diner food. I’ve lived in in NJ, and Detroit Coney Islands remind me of NJ diners with slightly less expansive menus supplemented with Coney Island hot dogs, gyros, spinach pie, and saganaki. Ironically, the two most iconic Coney Islands, Lafayette and American, are a lot less extensive in their offerings than most of the dozens of others spread all over southeast Michigan, thanks to local chains like Leo’s, National, and Kerby’s, plus independent restaurants. (Leo’s is my favorite.)

As for Chicago hotdogs, I’ve lived in Chicago too, and I never could figure them out. They’re just…OK. Also, the Chicago hostility to ketchup on a hot dog is pathologic. It has always baffled me.

Finally, Detroit style Coney dogs are not just any old chili dogs. A special kind of chili that’s more viscous and has a different taste is used that varies regionally in Michigan.

Since we’re already here..

-the locals relish Texas Wieners which also have Greek origins- “like Greek spaghetti sauce” but named for “exotic Texas” because of hot sauce ( 1924 Paterson)
– there are also Italian hotdogs which can have peppers, onions and other meats, Italian bread
– “rippers” deep fried hot dogs (frequently seen on television food shows)
– NYC ( old style) food cart hotdogs in “hot dog water” aka “dirty hotdog water”
– and famous because it is on Anthony Bourdain’s food tour , Hiram’s ( Englewood Cliffs). See website

-btw- I don’t eat hot dogs

Coney Island hot dogs, gyros, spinach pie, and saganaki

Now, the flaming version of the latter with lemon was invented in Chicago.

The larger issue is the ubiquity of the marketing of all of this nonsense be it WF or all the large drug store chains. It’s become ingrained in the consciousness of the average person that one can only be “healthy” by engaging in all these “protocols” of “organic”, and all things “natural”–which oddly enough, include fairly UN-natural supplements of all sorts.

@mdfinfer–I can’t think of a single place to buy groceries that doesn’t stock at least some of this. Every store has gluten-free, every store stocks a raft of supplements, every store has “pro-biotic” this and that products. And don’t get me started on “non GMO” products–which now includes just about everything. I still hold my nose and shop WF for produce because it’s the freshest and the only place that consistently has lacinato kale that isn’t turning yellow. (Yes, I actually really like kale and can’t grow my own after the first frost.)

Note: Yes, WF is one of the worst offenders, but the bigger problem is that its model is spreading like wildfire.

” It’s become ingrained in the consciousness of the average person that one can only be ‘healthy” by engaging in all these ‘protocols’ of ‘organic’, and all things ‘natural’- which oddly enough, include fairly UN-natural supplements of all sorts”

Unfortunately, you’re probably right: alt med has gained a foothold through savvy marketing and social media by its followers. Because I’ve followed woo-meistery for a long time, I see how catchwords and ( bad) research results turn up everywhere.This is a huge business – people spend ridiculous amounts of money on supplements and “super foods” which have little or no support from SBM. The other day, I noticed a large selection of gluten free products – like crackers- in the supermarket which cost double ( or more) than standard products. Why eat crackers if you hate gluten: there are OTHER foods!

I find the gluten free health trend to be silly, but a coworker has Celiac’s, so I’m glad it has given her more options. I also know enough people with eating disorders that I’m not a fan of commenting on what people eat. If they want to eat gluten-free crackers, go for it.

It is true that some people need GF food but I’d wager that most who buy it are following some sort of woo such as a belief that it’s an easy way to lose weight or that gluten causes all types of ills in average people. Similar too are sugar free products that are necessary for diabetics but used by others for woo-fraught reasons,
This altie messaging allows marketing that leads to higher prices which affect people with real restrictions ( My mother had diabetes and sought out sugar free foods)

I suggest you protest your local WF so they can no longer sell those products as well as your kale.

“Throwaway” free magazines and alternative newspapers frequently feature ads from woo purveyors.

Our local “free press” rag does this, in addition to running a regular column by an herbalist who promotes Herbalists Without Borders.

“HWB is seeking holistic-minded practitioners to volunteer at People’s Clinics (you do not need to be a trained herbalist – there are medical doctors, herbalists, massage therapists, nurse practitioners and Naturopaths who are volunteering currently)”

Yeah, that’s what patients coming to People’s Clinics deserve – untrained herbalists, as long as they’re “holistic”.

The herbalist who writes this column has touted elderberry products (which her company just happens to sell) as being “more effective than flu vaccines and Tamiflu” against influenza.

In some cases you get what you pay for. The one that bugs me is the syndicated “People’s Pharmacy” column that my local, real, newspaper runs on Sundays. It’s all the old crap that’s been around forever (golden raisins in gin for arthritis, vapo-rub on your feet for everything, brown listerine for foot fungus, etc etc), plus some new stuff (red rice yeast) and it all makes me want to scream “or you could see a nurse or doctor for something that’s been tested!”

Elderflower and elderberries make lovely tasting syrups. Why do they have to do more than that? Why can’t something just taste or smell nice?

They have anecdotes, WE have anecdotes..
a woman ( age 60?) who ran a sports facility didn’t want to take meds so she took red year rice for high BP AND…
later had a stroke and needed extensive therapy for difficulty speaking

Denice: The thing that’s extra irritating is that I don’t think I’ve ever seen the column say “Don’t do this”.

Back when Hints from Heloise ran in my local paper I always thought they were silly, but I really respected the time that someone wrote in about re-using chicken marinade (eww) and Heloise said in great big block font “DO NOT DO THIS!”, and then went on to explain about salmonella and cross contamination.

The People’s Pharmacy never takes the opportunity to have a teaching moment with their readers, and I really think even less of them for it.

Red yeast rice apparently contains lovastatin, in unknown dosage and quality. So yes, it actually can lower your cholesterol, but frankly, I’d much rather get my statins in pills that have known dosage and quality That way I’d be reasonably certain that I get as much of the statin that I need for my level of cholesterol, no more, no less. I’d rather not be playing what amounts to Russian roulette with red yeast rice or other such “natural” sources of medication. Too little and blood cholesterol goes up, too much and I get side effects, some of which are pretty bad (myopathy, liver damage, rhabdomyolysis, etc.).

Austin, Texas, Friday DEC. 13, 2019 /PRnewswire/ –

Whole Foods Market announces that effective January 1, 2020 it will change its name to Hole Foods as part of its new marketing strategy for the next decade. Since coming under the Amazon canopy there has been recognition that it needs to engage with its customers in a new way to best highlight what it does best: putting a hole in the products it sells.

According to Chief Marketing Officer, Les Moir, “what distinguishes us is more what we leave out than what we put into what we sell. If you want gluten-free we take it out and leave that hole in our bakery products. If you want GMO-free foods we only sell foods that leave out the additional nutrients that you find in GMO foods.”

The new marketing slant will go beyond just food. Key to this is medicine, in particular homeopathic remedies. Hole Foods will ensure that where there used to be active ingredients there will be none. That’s an especially important hole that our customers look for.

Indeed if you want to double up your holes we even sell gluten-free bagel. Look for more holistic products that will be introduced in the new year. In partnership with Amazon you can download our complimentary magazines to your Kindle device, such as Natural Awakenings and Hole Truth. With one click you can put a hole in your intellect.

As CMO Les Moir puts it in the rebranded company’s motto: We Sell Less For More.

SOURCE Hole Foods Market

No surprise at all given that Amazon itself is probably the world’s largest haven for quackery and antivaccine nonsense.

There was no “Reply” button below your response to my first comment but I found you down here. So, to continue from above, you mentioned that anti-vaxxers “insist that vaccines cause events that they couldn’t possibly”, yet you do not dispute that they are rewarded “compensation” ($250,000 for each dead son or daughter, I believe) from federal courts. Then what sort of “events” DO vaccines cause that end up in the courts with parents supposedly compensated for their dead child? And would you call these grieving parents “quacks”?

This has been addresses many times on toss blog. Vaccines don’t cause autism, SIDS, autoimmune disease, etc., and, contrary to antivax claims, the Vaccine Court is by design set up to give every benefit of the doubt to parents’ claims, which occasionally leads to some questionable awards.

Because no reply button was made available following Orac’s comment directly below, I’m answering him here: Please, my question is so simple. Federal courts pay out to parents of vaccine-damaged children. Are vaccines safe? “Yes” or “No”, please!

Gregg, Every year, millions are paid out every year due to automobile accidents. Is driving safe? Yes or no?

Are vaccines safe? “Yes” or “No”, please!

Yes, vaccines are safe.
Severe adverse events only occur in approximately 1 in a million doses. In addition, as Orac mentioned, a lot of things antivaxxers blame on vaccines can’t possiby be caused by them.

To put it very clear to you: in case of table injuries, Vaccine Court will pay when there are a temporal connection between vaccine and injury. Causal connection is not needed.

I’ll take “What are Table Injuries?” for 20, you dissembling leech. Also, get tossed for smearing every parent who makes a successful VICP claim as an “anti-vaxxer”. It’s the movement anti-vaxxers who make it all about themselves; bunch of greasy grifters and personality disorders in search of attention.

Normal parents are just trying to do right by their kids, raising them to adulthood with least amount of risk. While it stinks to roll snake-eyes on a million-to-one gamble, it’s that or do nothing and take a hundred-to-one bet instead. I mean, what sort of lunatic would prefer the latter?

If only household goods and automobiles could boast the safety profiles that vaccines have. Perhaps you should go rail on the dangers of those, do something valuable with your life instead of trying to make more kids dead.

Terrie: injury from being broadsided by another car and injury from a vaccine are not comparable: one’s a uncontrolled situation, one isn’t. I have no control over what another driver might do, or eve–sometimes–what my own car might do. I do however have control over what I administer to myself.

Has: a hundred-to-one bet? I grew up in the ’60’s with none of this. We got polio and a couple others. I have no recollection of any deaths or injuries in my school system of about 250 kids per class. I have no recollection of allergies (like peanuts) and autism was extremely rare. You were most likely never going to encounter an autistic kid. Moreover, hard numbers are called for when you discuss rates. Billions have been paid out already–that doesn’t sound like one in a million.

Aarno: to limit compensation to when temporality is clear is not enough. That smacks of very limited imagination. Conditions take time to develop. Everyone knows that.

I’d say the bottom line is that vaccines are safe except when they’re not. I think we can do better than that.

Terrie: injury from being broadsided by another car and injury from a vaccine are not comparable: one’s a uncontrolled situation, one isn’t.

That is wrong. You have no control over an adverse reaction either even though you willingly vaccinated just like you willingly get into an automobile. Can you control what a VPD does to you or your children?

On my infuriating trip to Whole Foods yesterday (it was the next closest store when Safeway failed to have apple cider or Dutch-process cocoa powder), I ended up down one of the “health” aisles on my way to the baking section. In the “health” section my eyes, and then my forward momentum, were arrested by a display of cough syrup for children. You may recall that most children’s medicated cough syrups were removed form the market recently for being ineffective. But here were many varieties of cough syrup for children. Some were obviously homeopathic. But what was the store brand one made of?

Readers, there was no “not appropriate for children under 2” warning on the label. Just the usual quack Miranda. I was so mad.

(When I finally made it to the baking aisle I had to find an employee to help me find the Dutched cocoa powder because almost every package was some kind of hyper-natural, extra-antioxidants, full of random other ingredient crap. The kind employee found me the itty bitty can of Dutched cocoa, hidden on a half shelf behind a pillar. Why? Why do I have to wade through overpriced crap and epic bullsh*t just to get a simple agricultural product and a basic baking ingredient?)

Even New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton is pissed off at Whole Foods.

“I certainly understand the fans asking questions,” Payton told WWL. “I got the guy at frickin’ Whole Foods asking me about the 2-point play. I looked at him, the guy in the meat section, and I said, ‘Hey, your steaks don’t look too good right now. Worry about your frickin’ meat.”

Whole Foods (aka Whole Paycheck) is depressingly popular in the Boston area.

When they arrived here 15 or so years ago, they bought out a local organic store chain called Bread & Circus. B & C used to put labels saying “contains no chemicals” on their packages of meat.

This sort of woo has been going on for a long time and it is amazing how many people have been convinced that buying organic is necessary for their health.

The whole “organic for health” thing is really upsetting on a lot of levels. A friend of mine was really beating herself up for not being able to afford to buy her kid organic blueberries (in winter!). I was in the middle of a maternal and child nutrition class so I was able to point to some research that says that conventional is fine. I hate that my friend (and I’m sure lots of other parents) feel like they have to pay extra (sometimes a lot extra) for organic produce or they’re hurting their kids.

A friend of mine was so taken in by the woo that if the choice was conventional or nothing, the kids wouldn’t eat the produce. Fortunately, she’s seen the light, but it’s wild that a caring, intelligent person was so taken in by the bullcrap that she’d deny her kids fresh fruit.

Ooh, want something even more fun? A lot of organic processed foods aren’t fortified the way that conventional foods are. So if you’re eating an unbalanced all-organic diet you might be missing out on iodine, iron, folic acid and other important micronutrients.

This came up when I was working on the change of adding folic acid to corn masa based foods, which were only fortified back in 2016 because there was concern that the alkalinization of the corn masa would be incompatible with the folic acid. (I got a poor grade on that assignment because I couldn’t come up with a serious objection to folic acid in food. It prevents terrible birth defects! It’s safe! It’s cheap!)

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