VERNON, Calif.--May 23, 2003--Whole Foods Market, the world's largest natural and organic supermarket, announced today the organic certification of its produce distribution facility in Vernon, Calif., which distributes produce to its stores in Southern California, Arizona and Nevada. The center is certified by Quality Insurance International, the global leader in organic certification. This certification is in addition to Whole Foods Market's bakehouse, which has been certified organic since 1997.
The organic certification ensures that the integrity of product that enters and leaves the facility remains 100% organic. The certification reflects the system of checks and balances that Whole Foods Market has implemented to maintain the organic chain of purity.
"As a leader in organic produce, Whole Foods Market is continuing to implement systems to give our customers the greatest level of confidence in the integrity of the produce they buy," says Michael Besancon, Regional President, Whole Food Market Southern Pacific Region. "We will continue to improve the organic certification process at all levels of our business."
About Whole Foods Market
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 143 stores in the United States 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 IP, LP. Whole Foods Market employs more than 24,000 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.
Independent, third party certification of organic food systems has been the foundation of domestic and international organic food trade. QAI verifies that the organic integrity is maintained. The QAI Certification Program is designed to certify every step of the organic chain -- from the land on which the product is grown; to the producers growing the product; to the post-harvest facilities preparing the product; to the processing and handling facilities transforming the product. Since 1989, QAI's diligence, at every link in the organic production chain, continues to provide assurance that the actual product destined to enter into market distribution is indeed organic.