I have been slowly losing confidence in Whole Foods. First it was their insistance that their 365 sodas were corn-free, but aren't. Then this week, I found out they switched their corn-free 365 broth to another manufacturer which uses corn starch (clearly labled) in the product.
I was angry.
So when I called Whole Foods to talk about the broth change, I got to talk to someone in charge. Or at least in charge of the 365 products. I am bad with names, so I didn't get his.
After first discussing that the product had in fact switched manufacturers rather than a formula change (meaning the old labeled broth is safe), I complained about the new broth containing corn.
He seemed alarmed that someone had actually contracted a new broth with obvious corn in it. From what he'd said, I got the idea that he'd gotten a whole heap of trouble (and education in corn allergy) from the 365 soda debacle.
He also mentioned that their intention with the 365 sodas was to get the only (or at least the first) corn-free soda line in the market. They had been promised and assured that the citric acid was from fruits, by the manufacturer, which is why they selected that manufacturer. Then they got the angry letters from us corn-allergic people and found out the lies. He said the manufacturer then claimed that the citric acid couldn't cause problems since it was so processed it no longer contained corn. Then he said, but it obviously does. I, of course, started laughing, because its not just us that get that speil of nonsense. I informed him that we hear that all the time "after the fact" and it really causes us a lot of problems.
He assured me that the corn allergy was a big issue with Whole Foods. Said that they've been seeing a larger and larger demand for corn-free products and are working on adding corn to their list of allergens to watch for. He said it wasn't required by law, but that they're doing it by customer demand.
This conversation with him helped me get a little more confidence in Whole Foods. However, only time will tell if they live up to it.
I encourage you to write Whole Foods and voice your concerns over this issue and ask them to make corn-free foods a priority. Ask about corn-free products at your local Whole Foods. Let them know just how many us there really are.
Whole Foods contact form
Whole Foods store locator
**The new corn starched broth finally hit my Whole Foods' shelves this week (11/09/2006). I am not happy.