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Health Foods Overtaken By Corporate Predators | Healing Talks
Published On: Fri, Jul 23rd, 2010

Health Foods Overtaken By Corporate Predators

health foods overtaken by corporate predators
SOURCE: Daria M. Brezinski, PhD daria@drdariabrezinski.com

Recently, health food brands have been changing the content, label and container for some products while others brands alter flavor, color or texture. Cascadian Farms ‘Only O’s’ (originally meaning nothing else but oats) recently listed ‘sugar’ as the second ingredient. The Whole Foods 360 brand organic large eggs are the same size as the extra large. The romaine lettuce from Earthbound Farms never rots after weeks in the refrigerator. The Rice Dream milk makes the roof of my mouth burn.
A three-month investigative journey was undertaken into these changes with appalling results. The health food industry has slowly but surely been taken over by large conventional corporations who are neither health conscious nor ethical, organic or sustainable. In addition, in preparing this article, these corporations were playing chess exchanging one company with another, buying and selling each other with abandon while the health food companies are secretive and elusive about the acquisitions. Informed decision-making is imperative when it comes to food purchase and consumption. Many conventional corporations in the industry are notorious for using GMO’s, MSG, toxic plastics, additives and other chemicals; inhumane working conditions and hiring practices; infusing unregulated foreign products into local production (using banned pesticides and toxic materials); bottling tap water. Lastly, and most infuriating is that consumers choose to pay higher prices for groceries at ‘health food stores’ assuming labeling is accurate and products are ethical, sustainable, organic and healthy. But if Heinz, Kellogg, Coke and Pepsi products were freely labeled on the shelves of the local health food store, would consumers pay the extra cost? If Odwalla drinks had the Coke insignia, if Knudsen’s apple juice said Smuckers or Westsoy saidHeinz Ketchup, would you buy it? An international advocacy organization based in Canada, the ETC Group has been monitoring corporate power in the industrial life sciences for the past 30 years. Their latest report warns of corporate concentration and commodification of nature and highlights the “Food Sovereignty” by major corporations. “Corporate-controlled food systems, suffering from decades of deregulation, have resulted in a cornucopia of calamities making us sicker, fatter and more vulnerable,” says ETC’s Research Director Hope Shand. Ongoing food contamination scandals, the global obesity burden and ocean “dead zones” caused by fertilizer pollution are among the food chain disasters cited in Who Owns Nature? “Unhealthy and hazardous food products are constant reminders of a corporate food chain broken to bits,” adds Shand. “Despite the implications for democracy and human rights, no international body exists to monitor global corporate activity and no UN body has the capacity to monitor and evaluate emerging technologies,” says ETC Group’s Kathy Jo Wetter. “The ongoing food emergency and imploding global economy testify to the need for monitoring and oversight of corporations, as well as social control of powerful new technologies.” Who Owns Nature? reports on the daunting trends in corporate concentration and technology convergence. Oversight for quality, ethics, labeling practices is wanting.

Over the past few years, the FDA and USDA have been scrutinized for the outbreaks of virus and bacteria in contaminated foods. Approximately 2/3 of the products sold by Whole Foods Market and their main distributor, United Natural Foods (UNFI) are not certified organic, but rather conventional (mostly chemical and GMO-tainted) foods and products disguised as ‘natural’. The Whole Foods label is a cover for products from ‘private’, unregulated companies. Whole Foods might inspect a few companies but outsourcing to CCOF, California Organic Federation is more prudent business. The USDA is also hiring third parties to inspect. Unfortunately, this practice is not working in the interest of public health and safety. One way agribusiness is trying to minimize the impact of organic revolution is by weakening organic standards. Islam Siddiqui (recently tapped by the Obama Administration to leave his post at the pesticide lobby CropLife and return to government) tried to destroy ‘organic’ by opening the standards up to toxic sludge, irradiation and genetic engineering. More subtler tactics are being employed throughout the industry. Mark Retzloff of Aurora Dairy and Alvert Starus of Straus Dairy are attempting to weaken the dairy standards.

The OTA (Organic Trade Association) defines national policy and regulates the health food industry. Who has voting power on the OTA board? Whole Foods, Weetabrix, Stoneyfield and Horizon make the laws that govern the health food industry. Is it any wonder major corporations are in a frenzy to purchase them? Where does the funding for the health food lobby come from? Monies are supplied by Heinz/ Haines, Horizons (Dean), Cascadian (General Mills), Stoneyfield (Danone) and Tysons. One would conclude that ‘buying local’ is the answer. But when the Piney River local eggs were no longer available at Whole Foods because their ‘organic’ status (after a year of investigation) was lost, there seemed a glimmer of hope for oversight. Then listening to NPR one night, a local Crozet organic apple farmer talked about selling his land as an organic orchard and deliberating concealing soil samples containing high levels of arsenic and lead to prospective buyers, one would conclude that the only ultimate safety mechanism is to

GROW YOUR OWN. However, there are a FEW organic companies that still maintain their integrity, stay small and manageable. “There is vast and growing resistance to the dislocation and devastation caused by the agro-industrial food system,” points out Silvia Ribeiro of ETC Group. “In the global struggle for Food Sovereignty, the playing field isn’t level, but the scope of resistance is massive – peasant farmers, fisher people, pastoralists and allied civil society and social movements are fighting for locally controlled and socially just food and health systems.” Let’s hope it happens for humanity’s sake.


Over the three-month period in researching for this article, the companies changed hands numerous times. Although current, there is no guarantee for the accuracy of these lists.


7th Generation
Amy’s Kitchens
Apple and Eve
Blue Diamond
Bob’s Red Mill
Bossa Nova
Cal Organics
Choice Organic Teas
Clif Bar/ Nectar Fruit
Coombs Family Farmers
Cosorzio All Natural
Country Choice
Crystal Geyser Alpine Water
Doctor Kracker
Dr. McDougall’s
Dr. Praeger
Eat Raw
Echo Farms
Eddie’s Pasta
Eden Foods (The only company NOT
using harmful plastic in the lining of their
cans as bonding agent!)
Edward and Sons
Endangered Species Chocolate
Fantastic Foods.
Giving Nature
Golden Temple
Go Naturally
Greenway Farms
Harvest Bay
Hawthorne Valley
Ian’s Natural Foods
Koyo Organics
Lesser Evil
Let’s Do…Organics
Living Harvest
Lundberg Family
Murray’s Chicken
Native Forest
Natural by Nature
Nature Factor
Nature’s Path
Newman’s Own
Organic Prarie
Organic Valley
Pacific Naturals
Peace Cereal
Real Foods
Republic of Teas
Road’s End Organics
San J
Sensible Foods
Seven Star Farms
Tasty Bite Indian
Terra Nostra
Theo chocolates
Think Organic
Turtle Mountain Toferky
Vermont Mystic Pie
Vita Spelt
Vivani Chocolate
Wizard’s Saucery
Woodstock Farms
XOXOXO chocolate
Yogi Tea
Zoe’s Granola


Baby Bear Shop
Bentley Organic
Buddah Nose
Bubble and Bee Organic
Dr. Bonner’s Magic Soaps
Earth Mama and Angel Baby
Eco Lips
Indian Meadow Herbals
Intelligent Nutrients
Juice Beauty
Kimberly Perry
Miessence Certified Organic
Nature’s Baby
Nature’s Paradise
Noli n Nali
OGmama and Ogaby
Organic Blessings
Organic Essence
Purely Shea
Rose Tattoo AfterCare
Seasons of the Soul
Sensibility Soaps
Simply Organic
SoCal Cleanse
Trillium Organics
Vermont Soap


AMERICAN CAPITOL- Coleman Naturals

CLOROX- Burt’s Bees

COKE- Odwalla, Glaceau, Vitamin D Water, Fruit Water, Smart Water, Vitamin Energy,
Dasani, Fresh Samantha

COLGATE- Tom’s of Maine

CONAGRA- International Home Foods, owns Lightlife, manufacturer of vegan meat
substitutes like Gimme Lean, Smart Dogs, Foney Boloney, Fakin Bacon, Smart Deli Slices,

DANONE- McKesson Water Products, Stoneyfield, Brown Cow, Evion

DEAN FOODS (Largest US Dairy)- White Wave (manufacturer of soy products including
Silk) (also, part owner of Horizon Organic Dairies), Arora, Alta Dena, Organic Cow of
Vermont, Rachael’s Organics

GENERAL MILLS- Small Planet Foods, Cascadian Farms and Muir Glen, Gold Medal
Organics, Sunrise Oragnics

HAIN FOOD GROUP OR HEINZ- Acirca, Alba, Arrowhead Mills, Bearitos, Boston’s Better
Snacks, Breadshop, Casbah, Celestial Seasonings, De Boles Nutritional Foods (A division of
Arrowhead Mills), Earth’s Best Baby Food, Estee, Farm Foods, Featherweight, Garden of
Eatin’, Hain Pure Foods, Harry’s Premium Snacks, Health Valley Company, Hollywood,
Imagine Foods Rice Dream and Soy Dream, Jason’s, Kineret, Little Bear, MaraNatha, Nile
Spice, Terra Chips, Weight Watchers, Westbrae Natural, Westsoy, Yves Veggie Cuisine The
Good Slice, Friti de Bosco, Linda McCartney Foods, Millina’s Finest, Nile Spice, Oat Dream,
Shari Ann’s, Walnut Acres, Mirantha Foods

HERSHEY- Dagoba chocolates
KELLOGG/KRAFT/PHILLIP MORRIS- Worthington Foods, Kashi, Natural Touch, Loma
Linda, Back to Nature, Balance Bar, Boca Burger, Boston’s Better Snacks, Organic Milling
Company, Gardensburger, Stone Wheat Thins, Sunrise Organics
KROGER- Fred Meyer, Inc

NESTLE- Power Bar, Poland Spring, Arrowhead, Deer Park, Ozarka and Calistoga, Body
PEPSI/QUAKER OATS- Naked Juice, Aquafina, Mother’s Naturals, Near East Foods, Ethos
SCHWEPPES- Green and Black’s organic chocolate, Hausen, Nantucket All Services
SMUCKERS/MARS-After the Fall, Knudsen, Santa Cruz, Seeds of Change
SOLERA CAPITOL- Annie’s Homegrown, Annie’s Naturals, Fantastic Foods
STARBUCKS- Monsanto milk
TYSON- Nature’s Farm Organics
UNILEVER- Best Foods, SlimFast, Ben and Jerry’s
US MILLS- Erewhon
WEETABIX- Barbara’s Bakery, Harmony Soy Burger, Tree of Life, Liberty Richter, Specialty
Both Coke and Pepsi exclusively use tap water for their water sources, while Nestle uses tap
water in some brands.


Acirca (Heinz)
After the Fall (SMUCKERS)
Alba (Hains/Heinz)
Alta Dena (Dean)
Amazake (Grainaissance)
Ancient Harvest (Quinoa Corporation)
Annie’s Homegrown (Solera Capitol)
Annie’s Naturals (Solera)
Aquafina (Pepsi)
Arora Creations (DEAN)
Arrowhead Mills (Hains/Heinz)
Arrowhead Water (Nestle’s)
Artisana (Premier Organics)
Aunt Trudy’s (Fillo Factory)
Back to Nature (Kraft/ Phillip Morris)
Balance Bar (Kraft/Phillip Morris)
Barbara’s Bakery (Weetabix)
Bearitos (Hain/Heinz)
Belizza (Baskin Robbins)
Ben and Jerry’s (Unilever)
Best Foods (Unilever)
Billington’s (Wholesome Sweeteners)
Boca Burger, Inc. (Kraft/Phillip Morris)
Body Shop (Nestles)
Boston’s Better Snacks (Phillip Morris)
Brown Cow (Danone)
Burt’s Bees (Clorox)
Calistoga (Nestle)
Carobelles (Rawbalance)
Casbah (Hain Celestial Group)
Cascadian Farm (General Mills)
Cel-Ent, Inc. (Rosina Food Products, Inc.)
Celestial Seasonings (Hains/Phillip Morris)
Chicago Soydairy (We Love Soy, Inc.)
ChocoSoy (Glenn Foods)
ChReese (Road’s End Organics)
Chutney Fever (Jae’s Organic Food)
Coleman’s Naturals (American Capitol)
Crispbread Celentano Vegetarian (Rosina
Food Products, Inc.)
Dagoba (Hershey’s)
Dasani (Coke)
De Boles Nutritional Foods (Hains/Heinz)
Deer Park (Nestle)
Earth’s Balance (Boulder Specialty Brands)
Earth’s Best Baby Food (Hains/Heinz)
Earth Bound Farms (Tanimura and Antle)
Erewhon (US MILLS)
Estee ( Hains/Heinz)
Ethos Water (Pepsi)
Evian (Danone)
Fakin Bakin (ConAgra)
Fantastic Foods (Solera)
Farm Foods (Hains/Heinz)
Featherweight (Hains/Heinz)
Foney Baloney (ConAgra)
Fresh Samantha (COKE)
Fruit Water (Coke)
Fruiti de Bosco (Heniz)
Galaxy Foods Company (SOLERO)
Garden of Eatin’ (Hain)
Gardenburger (Kellogg/Phillip Morris)
Gimme Lean (ConAgra)
Glaceau (Coke)
Gold Medal Organics (General Mills)
Good Earth Teas (Tetley)
Green and Black chocolate (Schweppes)
Hain Celestial Group (HEINZ presently owns
20% of the Hain Food Group).
Arrowhead Mills
Boston’s Better Snacks
Celestial Seasonings
De Boles Nutritional Foods
Earth’s Best Baby Food
Farm Foods
Garden of Eatin’
Hain Pure Foods
Harry’s Premium Snacks
Health Valley Company
Imagine Foods Rice & Soy Dream
Little Bear
Nile Spice
Terra Chips
Weight Watchers
Westbrae Natural
Yves Veggie Cuisine
Hansen (Schwepps)
Harmony Farms Soy Burgers (Wessanen’s)
Harry’s Premium Snacks (Hains/Heinz)
Hawaii National Water (Amcon)
Health Valley Company (Hains/Heinz)
Healthy and Natural (Sunrich)
Healthy Harvest (Oakridge Products)
Hinoichi (House Foods America)
HOL*GRAIN Wheat & Gluten-Free (Conrad Rice
Hollywood (Hains/Heinz)
Horizon (DEAN Dairy)
Imagine Foods (Hains/Heinz)
Kashi Company and (Kellogg/Phillip Morris)
Kettle Foods (Lion Capitol)
Kineret (Hains/Heinz)
Kiss the Cook (Jivan Foods)
Liberty Richter Wasa (Wessamen)
Lifestream Products (Nature’s Path Foods)
Lightburgers (ConAgra)
Lightlife Foods, Inc. (ConAgra)
Linda McCarthy Foods (Heinz)
Little Bear (Hains/Heinz)
Loma Linda (Worthington Foods)
MaraNatha (Hains/Heinz)
Match Premium Meat Alternatives (AB Foods)
McKessen Water (Danone)
Millina’s Finest (Heniz)
Mimi’s Gourmet (JMG Natural Gourmet)
Mishima Foods, Inc. (Alle Processing Corp.)
Mon Cuisine (Alle Processing Corp.)
Moosewood Soups ( Fairfield Farm Kitchens)
Morningstar Farms (Kellogg/Phillip Morris)
Mother’s Natural Foods (Pepsi Cola).
Muir Glen Organic Tomato Products (General Mills)
Mycopia (Gourmet Mushrooms)
Naked Juice (Pepsi)
Nantucket All Service (Schwepps)
Nasoya (Vitasoy)
Natural Touch (Worthington Foods)
Nature’s Farm Organics (Tyson)
Nature’s Pride (Interstate Bohemes)
ND Labs, Inc. (dba Nutritional Designs)
Near East Food Products (Pepsi Cola)
Nile Spice (Heinz)
O Organics (Lucerene)
Oat Dream (Heinz)
Odwalla (COKE)
Organic Cow of Vermont (Dean)
Organic Gourmet (Nasoya)
Organic Milling Co.( Kraft/Phillip Morris)
Our Daily Muffin (odm foods, Inc.)
Ozarki (Nestle)
Pete’s Tofu (Sunrise Soya Foods)
Poland Spring Water (Nestle’s)
Power Bar (Nestle)
Private Selection Organics (Kroger)
Pulmuone USA has merged with Wildwood
Natural Foods to create Pulmuone Wildwood,
PURE DELIGHTS (Chrissy’s Healthy Comfort
Foods, Inc.)
Rachael’s Organics (Dean)
Re-Bar (Healthco Canada)
Red Star Yeast (Lesaffre Yeast Corporation)
Rice Dream (Heniz)
Rocamojo (S & C Naturals)
Santa Cruz (SMUCKERS)
Saratoga (North Castle Partners)
Seeds of Change (Mars Incorporated, known for
M & M’s, Snickers, and Milky Way)
ShariAnn’s Organic (Heinz)
Sheese (Bute Island Foods, Ltd.)
Silk (DEAN dairies)
Small Planet Foods (General Mills)
Small Planet Tofu, “The Micro-Brew of TOFU”
(General Mills)
Smart Dogs (ConAgra)
Smart Deli Slices (ConAgra)
Smart Water (Coke)
Soy Delicious now So Delicious (Turtle
Soyannaise (Wessanen USA)
Soyburg, USA (Pleasant Farms)
Soyco (Galaxy Foods Company)
Spectrum Organic Products, Inc. (Hains/Heinz)
Starbucks (uses Monsanto cows in their milk
Stone Wheat Thins (Phillip Morris)
Stoneyfield (DANONE)
Stonewall’s Jerquee (Lumen Foods)
Sunrise Organics (General Mills)
Sweet Nothings (Turtle Mountain)
Temptation (We Love Soy, Inc.)
Terra Chips (Hains/Heinz)
Tom’s of Maine (Colgate/Polmolive)
Tree of Life, Inc. (Wessanen’s)
Uncle Eddie’s Vegan Cookies (Vitasoy)
Vegan Gourmet Cheese Alternative (Follow Your Heart)
Vegenaise (Follow Your Heart)
Vitamin Water (COKE)
Vita-Spelt (Purity Foods)
Vogue Cuisine (VEGEBASE)
Wamnut Acres (Heniz)
Weight Watchers (Hains/Heinz)
Wessanen USA (Wessanen’s)
Westbrae Natural (Hains/Heinz)
Westsoy (Hains/Heinz)
White Wave, Inc. (Dean)
Wild Harvest (Earthy Delights)
Wildwood Natural Foods (Pulmuone
Wild Oats (Whole Foods)
Worthington Foods (Kellogg/Phillip Morris)
Morningstar Farms
Natural Touch
Loma Linda
Yves Veggie Cuisine (Hains/Heinz)


Agrow World Crop Protection News, Who Owns Nature? August 2008
Cienfuegos, Paul. The Organic Foods Movement – Led by Heinz Corporation or We the
People? The Time to Choose is Now. Common Dreams, May 31, 2004.

Food, Inc. documentary 2009

Glover, Paul. What We Need to Know About the Corporate Takeover of the “Organic”
Food Market. Also titled The Corporate Corruption of Organics–A New Web Site.
Organic Consumers Association, June 2003.

Howard, Philip H. Michigan State University website includes many graphic charts of the
organic food industry.

In New Marketing Tactic, Foodmakers Urge Doctors to Advocate Brands. Wall Street
Journal, May 25, 2004.

Ness, Carol. Mega-Producers Tip Scales as Organic Goes Mainstream. San Francisco
Chronicle, April 30, 2006.

Sligh, Michael and Caroline Christman. Who Owns Organic? The Global Status,
Prospects, and Challenges of a Changing Organic Market. Rural Advancement
Foundation International, Pittsboro, NC, 2003.

Pollan, Michael. Behind the Organic-Industrial Complex. New York Times, May 1, 2001.

About the Author

Displaying 8 Comments
Have Your Say
  1. Korin43 says:

    I don't see why you're attacking Whole Foods. They clearly label organic food “Organic” and anything that doesn't have that label isn't organic. The produce section is even more obvious with everything being either “Organic” or “Conventionally grown”.

  2. jman says:


    THis is a good site to see the how even products labeled organic doesn't necessarily mean better. Its a sad fact.

    If Whole Foods really wants to be called Whole Foods. They shouldn't be carrying products that are made by companies that only care about profit and controlling the food industry and squashing small businesses that stand for something whole and good.

  3. Hi! I want to thank you for giving me the purposeful blog. It really matches to my requirement. Waiting for the next!

  4. Timberlinejay06 says:

    You think Whole Foods uses whole foods? and it's healthy? What about chemical additives, think they don't include them in their food bar and Whole foods brands? How about a dose of MSG? Monosodium glutamate causes brain cancer, now there's a new derivative called “Natural Flavors”, and another one called “Carageenan”, they are ingredients listed in many many of the brands on the shelves in Whole Foods and other health food stores. They are ingredients in many of the soups and foods in the food bar as a flavor enhancer. So they can say 'we don't use MSG” because people think “Natural Flavors” is good for you, but Natural Flavors and Carageenan have a slight different chemical compound from MSG which takes a part of the atom of the yeast protein, and is linked to brain cancer. Also there is a product called Liquid Aminos sold in Whole Foods, it is a flavor enhancer same as MSG. the Liquid Aminos are Non-Essential amino acids which sound good but are not without a balance of essential amino acids, try for awhile and see if you start getting headaches, your brain is telling you something is very wrong. Look at the ingredients of the soups in the food bar for Natural Flavors, it's chemical poison. Brain cancers are on the rise because we're eating chemicals in foods we are led to believe are natural and healthy. The FDA allows Natural Foods to be called natural because it is made from a protein. And, I bought soy protein powder that's genetically modified with the Whole Foods label.

  5. Dauntae says:

    Korin did you not read or comprehend this article? Did you not research information on your own? THE STANDARDS FROM THE LABEL- U.S.D.A ORGANIC OR BEING WEAKENED: WHICH MEANS THEY ARE NOT FOLLOWING EFFICIENT CODES OF WHAT ORGANIC IS!!!! THE LABEL MEANS NOTHING! READ!!!!

  6. Dauntae says:

    Korin did you not read or comprehend this article? Did you not research information on your own? THE STANDARDS FROM THE LABEL- U.S.D.A ORGANIC OR BEING WEAKENED: WHICH MEANS THEY ARE NOT FOLLOWING EFFICIENT CODES OF WHAT ORGANIC IS!!!! THE LABEL MEANS NOTHING! READ!!!!

  7. Dauntae says:

    We need to keep trying to fight this, people! Well…maybe not….because there remains a great list of potentially independent farmers; but one just needs to do their research to confirm it and then take that list to your local health food store and only support those companies! (This is what I am doing when my financial status improves. I buy organic now, but where I am, a lot of the organic companies are the ones owned by the corporate conventional ones). 

    This is such an important issue……

  8. Dauntae says:

    We need to keep trying to fight this, people! Well…maybe not….because there remains a great list of potentially independent farmers; but one just needs to do their research to confirm it and then take that list to your local health food store and only support those companies! (This is what I am doing when my financial status improves. I buy organic now, but where I am, a lot of the organic companies are the ones owned by the corporate conventional ones). 

    This is such an important issue……

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