Trader Joe's grocery stores provide organic products at prices cheaper than markets like Whole Foods. In theory, that's great for sustainable foodies on a budget. But there's one giant problem: The store refuses to disclose where its organic food come from.
A report from the Cornucopia Institute, a sustainable agriculture non-profit, showed that like most private label brands, organic milk sold under the Trader Joe's label doesn't reveal which dairies the company buys from. The same policy is true for any organic products sold under the Trader Joe's brand, from soy beans in soy milk and tofu to peanut butter to cheeses. Therefore when consumers purchase these items, they can't trace their food back any further than Trader Joe's shelves.
While the company claims it wants to keep its suppliers a secret to maintain a competitive edge, not disclosing where food comes from goes against one of the main tenets of the organic food movement. Organic isn't just about not using chemical pesticides and herbicides. It's about connecting consumers to the very farm their food comes from and broadening folks' knowledge on how agricultural goods are produced. That transparency ensures that shoppers are not only more educated, they can also act as watchdogs to make sure that organic food is being produced according to the highest sustainability standards. After all, milk cartons can feature a certain label, but how can consumers trust that organic seal if there's no accountability?
Sign our petition asking that Trader Joe's disclose where it sources its organic food from.