AUSTIN, Texas, June 6 -- Whole Foods Market (Nasdaq: WFMI), the world's largest natural and organic foods supermarket, proudly announced today it is the first national grocer to have its retail operations designated as "Certified Organic" by Quality Assurance International (QAI), a federally recognized independent third-party certification organization. The voluntary certification is just one more example of the retailer's commitment to the promotion of organic agriculture and the integrity of the certified organic label.
"Earning organic certification is further proof of Whole Foods Market's unwavering commitment to organics that began when our first store opened almost 23 years ago," said Margaret Wittenberg, vice president of governmental and public affairs for Whole Foods Market and a former five-year member of U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Organic Standards board. "Americans can trust that Whole Foods Market upholds the highest standards when handling organic products. We strive to present great organic offerings to our customers and to make a difference."
QAI's Organic Certification Program for Retailers verifies businesses handle organic goods according to stringent national guidelines from receipt through repacking and finally to sale to consumers. Organic integrity is ensured from the farm to shopping bag. In order to receive certification, retailers must adhere to strict standards set forth by the USDA's National Organic Program, submit documentation, and open facilities to on-site inspections -- all designed to assure Americans that the chain of organic integrity is preserved.
About Whole Foods Market(R)
Founded in 1980 in Austin, Texas, Whole Foods Market is the world's largest natural and organic foods supermarket. In fiscal year 2002, the company had sales of $2.7 billion and currently has more than 140 stores in the U.S. and Canada. The Whole Foods Market motto, "Whole Foods, Whole People, Whole Planet"(TM) captures the company's mission to find success in customer satisfaction and wellness, employee excellence and happiness, enhanced shareholder value, community support, and environmental improvement. Whole Foods Market, Bread & Circus(R) and Harry's Farmers Market(R) are all registered trademarks owned by Whole Foods Market and its affiliates. The company employs more than 27,000 team members and has been ranked for six consecutive years as one of the "Top 100 Companies to Work for" in America by Fortune magazine. www.wholefoodsmarket.com