Whole Foods is Promoting Junk Halloween Treats

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Whole Foods Halloween Madness

Halloween cookie - Whole FoodsI just got back from Whole Foods and I'm fired up.  There was a lady at a display right at the front of the store with plates of pretty Halloween cookies on display.  She was offering samples.  As I walked past, she offered me one.  Normally I just say no thanks and walk on, but I was compelled to stop and read the ingredients.  After all, I've spent the better part of this week writing and talking to people to educate them about the dangers of the Halloween treats that are being pushed on us this week.

White flour, sugar, butter, eggs and other colors and flavorings were being pushed by a health food store called Whole Foods.  Whole foods …let's see.  Last time I read the definition of whole foods there was something about nutrients intact, as nature created the food.  These treats are total junk.  Yet, the unsuspecting consumer, shopping at whole foods and paying the higher prices, is expecting to get value and health PROMOTING food.  Most of them don't read the labels.  They just assume that the product is healthy because Whole Foods is selling it.  WRONG!

I explained to the pleasant looking woman offering the samples that I was disappointed that Whole Foods would be promoting such food.  I read the ingredients to her and explained that this was not good for people and that Whole Foods should not promote foods that contribute to the demise of the immune systems of all who consume it.  She just stood there and nodded her head and smiled at me.  It was infuriating.  She didn't even engage me in the least.  No…”Wow, I didn't realize”, or even “Well, at least there's no hydrogenated oil in them”.  She just stood there patronizingly smiling and nodding her head.  She didn't want to hear a word I said.

I checked out and paid for my groceries, and a little voice in my head told me to go to customer service and let my opinion be known.  The pleasant customer service representative paged a manager to speak with me.

The manager was a youngish, long haired, very nice looking gentleman, and I thought that I'd have a sympathetic ear.  He listened and told me that all the ingredients met the store's standards.  We got into a discussion about those standards, and I explained my concern for the health of our kids.  I explained to him that a Nobel Prize was awarded to Otto Warburg linking sugar to cancer. http://www.mnwelldir.org/docs/nutrition/sugar.htm .  I talked to him about the immune system, and how sugar and white flour contribute to heart disease, cancer, autoimmune disease, colds, ear infections, ADD and autism.  I explained to him that I could probably talk about the dangers of eating those cookies for 3 hours and not be complete.

He explained that there was nothing he could do, and besides, there are no clear cut nutrition guidelines that all agree on.  He explained that they want to give people choices.  I managed to get him to give me the name of someone higher up in the organization to speak with about my concern.

Let’s do a grass roots effort and let Whole Foods know how we feel.  Call Margaret Wittenberg at 512 477-5566 and tell her how you feel about white flour sugary cookies being sold as healthy Halloween alternatives.  You can also mention the gummy drops they sell, in which the first ingredient is corn syrup.   Stop by your local store and ask them why they are selling immune system enemies masquerading as pretty, healthy Halloween treats.

Inform yourself.  Come up with alternatives for yourself and your families.  In my book, Healthy Halloween Treats I have lots of recipes that are quick and easy to make and taste great.  I also have a list of sources of packaged treats that support health rather than destroy it.

Make your voices known.  I don't know about you, but to me the incidence of childhood cancer, immune system diseases and brain dysfunction amongst kids these days is alarming.  It's all preventable.  Let's do something today.  Offer your kids and yourself healthy Halloween treats and learn Halloween recipes that support vibrant health.

Please let me know your thoughts.  Let's get a discussion going around this issue.

Love and Health,

Dr. Ritamarie



  1. Kim Klotz

    Are the Halloween and Thanksgiving books available as actual books as pictured or only as downloads?

  2. Joan Dunn

    Way to go Dr Ritamarie! I was also at Whole Foods this morning. Wish I would have been there for that discussion. I will be calling them just as soon as I finish this email.

    Thank you for all you do for all of us!

  3. Angela

    Wow I am just stunned by what you have discovered! I would have thought Whole Foods Market would have promoted themselves better than this!! Thanks for sharing this with us!

  4. Brian

    Dr Ritamarie,
    I really appreciate your artcile, and situation at whole foods.
    As you know I owned an alternative baked good company that at one time supplied whole foods with products.
    The issue is/was profits are the most important thing to the Wal Mart of the health food industry.
    Its sad to say but junk makes more money. Its cheaper to produce more addictive then more wholesome products.
    You are right people “trust” Whole Foods because they have spent millions on advertising.
    Keep up the good work!

  5. Sue Gratter

    That is just the tip of the iceberg at Whole Foods. Haven’t you ever walked through their “bakery”. It’s loaded with suggary, white flour treats everyday! Muffins, cookies, scones, bagels not to mention the chocolate counter! There has been lots of talk across the country about being careful when shopping at whole foods they are, after-all, just another grocery store. everywhere else!

  6. Kristen

    What’s that saying about the truth?
    First your vehemently opposed
    then you’re ridiculted
    then it’s accepted as self-evident.
    We may be somewhere between the first two, but what you’re saying is right on. I hope we’ll eventually see the sugar/refined flour industry as we see the tobacco industry- a dangerous health hazard for people of any age. Thanks Dr. R. You go!

  7. Pam

    I have been waiting for someone to FINALLY find out about these guys !!!
    I was @ the Environmental Hospital back in 1997 and Whole Foods was a GREAT store………many HEALTHY foods for individuals on a rotation diet, due to AUTO-IMMUNE system dysfunctions, etc.
    I have become VERY ILL after eating some of their foods that THEY made, and after much detective work and REACTIONS, have determined that they must be putting something in as a preservative that is NOT labeled, and some of us who are severely compromised cannot afford to take chances !!! THEY ARE NOT WHAT THEY SHOULD BE……most of the produce is 90% conventional, and I won’t even go there about there meats. Things got so bad locally, that they now advertise beef, for example, from USA.
    It’s time for the consumer to educate themselves, READ the labels, and speak up as you did, that we can purchase the JUNK they promote @ the local grocery chains for ALOT LESS MONEY…….and that’s what’s seemingly MOST important to them. It’s going to take NUMBERS to change them to what they initially were……WHOLE FOODS~~~~~~~

  8. Pamela

    It would be absolutely wonderful if Whole Foods would kick it up a notch and move towards being a store which already made the good choices instead of OFFERING choices (good and bad). They do some things well–but we would like to see MORE.
    Thanks, Ritamarie, for giving us a venue through which to voice this growing concern!

  9. Rachel Cummins

    I really appreciate your take on this and admire your passion, I agree with you completely on the sugar thing!

    Most of the world has no idea that sugar is even a problem. Or they have the mindset that “everything is ok in moderation”. Whole Foods is one of the most conscientious food markets I have encountered, but they are not perfect. They have a very hard job, and I think a difficult market. They get so much flack from the world, and maybe they deserve it but I personally really enjoy shopping there, and I always seem to find what I need. If they only carried products without sugar, they would loose a large amount of their customers, even customers that think they are very informed. Then if they go out of business where would I find all my fresh raw foods??!! I can’t always make to the farmers market. Sad I know!

    I must confess I have even purchased some of these products! I know they are not good for me, but I also know that the type of sugar used in WF’s products are usually organic or raw sugar, at least a better form than the white death that you get at HEB. They do have policies about their products and that means their food coloring is natural, from beets and carrots, and their are no preservatives in the food. I’m not saying that makes everything all right, just a tiny bit better than the other alternative. At least it’s all real food, not concocted in a lab. I know organic is not a “free for all”, and organic sugar is not better than raw agave or stevia. I do understand and know the difference. I also appreciate the fact that there are all kinds of people that shop there. Some people don’t care what they eat as long as it’s organic, or all natural. I disagree that Whole Foods should tell us what to eat, but to have great alternatives along with products that meet people where they are at in their diet. There are so many confusing messages in the world, and honestly most people have a very hard time keeping a rigorous diet, but do the best that they can.

    Ultimately it is up to us to make our diet choices to discover the truth in the lies of advertising, our government, and health experts. Health is a journey. When I first started learning about health in the 80’s of course I thought fat free was the answer! Hahah!! When I learned about organic I only purchased organic potatoes, and milk. My ideas have changed drastically since 10 years ago! Some of my friends still shop at HEB, and eat boxed foods! Poison covered spinach and mass produced meats. Unbelievable! LOL! We are all in different stages in this journey, and we cannot condemn those that are not where we are at, but love them anyway and be good examples. At least some of them walk thru the doors of Whole Foods and get some good nutrition along with the bad. Better than diet coke and potato chips laden with trans fats. Have you been to HEB and looked in some of the “family carts”? That always amazes me. Just my 2 cents.

    Keep up the great work Dr. Ritamarie, you are an inspiration!

  10. Brucette

    The only thing I can tell you is that you should have asked for the manager from the beginning. The person you spoke to at the start was probably hired to “give out samples” and while she might not want to give that stuff to her children after talking to you, she had no power one way or the other to get Whole Foods to not sell it. Even customer service couldn’t help much and that’s why they called the manager. I agree with you 100% on not giving kids crap no matter what the season…some parents will say, “Well, it’s summer, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine’s….” you get the picture. But if you want to make things known, you did the better thing by listing an email and a person for everyone to get in contact with….keep up the good work!

  11. Jane

    Whole Foods sells plenty of things with sugar and white flour in them. Unless they are going to ban white sugar and flour from the market, Whole Foods has a right to sell products containing those ingredients, and you have a right not to buy it if you don’t want to eat it. People need to take responsibility for their own actions, and not overindulge in the things that they know could end up killing them, and stop looking to blame sources outside of themselves for things they have control over. To me, this is the same mentality as muslim men making women wear head scarves, otherwise the women is considered to be “provoking their lust”. Its about taking personal responsibility, not mandating what others should do.

  12. Christine

    I wish I had been there to see this! 😀 Good for you.
    Whole Foods is first and foremost a corporation out to please the stock holders -it was not always so, and it very much is now. Profit drives the product, albeit under the disguise of a previously built “health food” store.
    As for their bakery, I’ve heard through friends that they do include very unhealthy ingredients that do not appear on the label (from someone who used to work there and quit on moral ground because of this). Buyer beware.

  13. Kathryn

    I am so glad you did this because it is a start in letting these big so called grocery stores, know that we know what is going on.
    We need to go to the top owner who lives right here in Good ol’ Austin Texas.
    And while we are on the subject of talking about what is good for us and what is not, how about the use of Canola oil in everything from Whole Foods. Do you know that it really is not good for food, but is good for running your car? That is right, for your car instead of gasoline. It is not called rapeseed for nothing.
    The word Canola comes from two words, Can as in Canada, and ola from meaning oil low acid.
    Canola is a GM food and canola oil was developed from rape seed … which is considered unsuited to human consumption because it contains a long-chain fatty acid called erucic acid, which under some circumstances is associated with fibrotic heart lesions.Bugs don’t eat canola.
    Read this web site for an explanation of the dangers of eating canola oil.
    If sugar and white flour and refined foods are bad for us then so are the altered seeds and foods without seeds.
    Seedless foods do not have the nutritional value you get with a food with the seeds as nature intends for them to be. This is only another one of the inventions of man to try and improve on nature. Nature provides us with the best and to alter them is to lessen the food value for our bodies.
    I am glad you put up this site for us and I will make that call in the morning on the treats. I reject the offers too. Thanks for voicing the truth of this to us and the store.

  14. admin

    Thanks to everyone for posting comments about the .Halloween treats at Whole foods. Keep them coming.
    And if you would be so kind to share my book with those who need to know how to make healthy stuff for Halloween, I would be most grateful.


  15. MaryPat

    Dr. RitaMarie,

    Thanks for this article. I am glad that someone is finally bringing this issue to the attention of the masses. As an avid ingredient-reader of most foods, I have been aware of this issue at Whole Foods, Wild Oats et al for a while.

    In fact, I have found that, coming from a small town with no Whole Foods or natural food store (nearest is 40 miles away), I receive a more concerned ear in the local Albertsons management.

    I also discovered that many of my staples items that I do purchase from Whole Foods can be ordered through the local grocers. This saves me time and anxiety as at least the local store isn’t trying to claim to be something it is not!

    Wow, I just went on a rampage, but I spend much of my time keeping my children safe from many of the allergens that make them ill (corn, wheat, dairy, soy and more).

    Thank you again for this informative article and especially for the contact information at Whole Foods. Let’s make a difference!

  16. Carin Reinhardt

    Dear wonderful Dr. Ritamarie,
    Thank you and thank you and all the little people thank you too! I ran a treatmeant home for traumatized children for five years and watched eczema asthma A.D.H.D. childhood balding and more clear up in a couple of months on a raw food organic diet…the children opted for this diet because that was my life style and these were the foods I ate and it was not long before they were all asking for it … the children felt better…looked better… behaved better…and all was good … except for the authorities thought I was making them different and even though their mind body and soul blossomed … their grades improved and they were extremely happy I was still intrusively questioned. Thanks for bringing awareness and thanks to all the parents out there that investigate the truth on nutrition and stand by it for the sake of their children.
    Many Blessings

  17. Mom

    As the mother of a child who cannot eat artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives, I am truly grateful that natural food stores like Whole Foods and others offer treats and candy that he *can* eat. We rarely eat candy or junk food for health reasons, but I value that some stores offer them for the occasional treat. My son can’t eat a snickers, Milky way, reese’s cup, M&Ms, or pretty much any other candy available from any other source outside of natural food stores, and almost every child enjoys an occasional piece of candy. I don’t think anyone is fooled that candy and cookies are health food, but these stores are invaluable to the parent of a child who can’t eat *any* other kind of candy out there.

  18. raw chocolate

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    Keep up the great writing.



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