Now that Dallas finally has a Trader Joe's, we can more easily eat all-natural, non-GMO, pesticide-free veggies and meat that roamed freely across organic pastures before it was gently killed, right? Actually, no. Trader Joe's is one of those grocery stores that seems all organic-y, because it has tasteful decorations, happy salespeople and lots of different random health claims on its products.
But the chain has been pissing off food safety advocates by selling meat from animals raised on antibiotics, a practice that is not organic. So let's compare Trader Joe's with other specialty grocery stores in Dallas. Which organic-y grocery store chain is actually selling you organics?
(And here's a quick primer: Organic produce just means produce not sprayed with pesticides and other crap, while organic meat is from animals fed organic feed and given no drugs or synthetic hormones.)
Central Market: Central Market has a glorious produce section with more than 150 varieties of "seasonal organics."
When it comes to meat, CM's website also assures you that "you can feel good about buying any meat that bears our name" because the animals are raised "without added hormones or antibiotics and fed a strict diet according to our own strict specifications." Sounds good. But wait, what do they mean by meat that bears "our name" -- is that all the meat products sold in Central Market, or just the Central Market-brand meat?
Asked to clarify their policy on meat, the Central Market press team sent us a statement that touts having "GMO free" produce but doesn't really answer our meat question. "Central Market is continuing efforts to make organics more prevalent for all customers," the statement says.
Whole Foods: Like Central Market, Whole Foods is a chain founded in Texas that's popular among the skinny yuppie dinner-party-hosting crowd. But Central Market's organic claims are super weak compared to those from Whole Foods.
"At Whole Foods Market, our standard is clear: No antibiotics, EVER!" writes Chief Operating Officer AC Gallo, in a firm blog post clearly outlining Whole Food's no antibiotics-in-meat policy.
In fact, the entire chain of Whole Foods has even been certified as organic under the California Certified Organic Farmers trade group. That doesn't mean that everything in the store is organic, but it does mean that Whole Foods has a decent organic selection and super anal policies in place such as "we go to great lengths to ensure that organic and conventional products never touch."
The company also works with the global animal partnership, a certification program that ensures that animals are treated nicely before they are killed and eaten.
As an extra health bonus not related to organics, Whole Foods also has an online list of "ingredients that Whole Foods Market finds unacceptable in food products." That is fierce.