Some Farmers Aren’t Happy with Whole Foods’ New Rating System

(Image credit: Dan Charles/NPR)

Have you noticed a new symbol popping up on the produce signs at Whole Foods lately?

In addition to telling you the price, where the produce was grown, and whether it was conventional or organically grown, these signs now include a Best, Better, Good, or Unrated designation.

This is Whole Foods’ new proprietary labeling system, and it has some farmers up in arms. Why? Many organic farmers are concerned that the Whole Foods rating — which is not determined by independent auditors — will overshadow the organic labeling, and that some organic farms have only been labeled “Good,” while there are conventional farms that have been labeled with the “Best” designation.

The rating system takes into account how the farms limit pesticide use, how they treat their workers, their systems of water conservation, and their energy use.

Have you seen these ratings popping up at your local Whole Foods? Have they guided any of your produce buying yet?