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Whole Foods Agrees to GE Labeling on In-House Products

April 5, 2005

Whole Foods Shareholders Applaud Company's New Policy to Label Genetically Engineered Foods

Contact: Shelley Alpern, Trillium Asset Management, 617.970.8944; Beth Williamson, GCCM, 617-426-2506

The shareholder proponents of a proposal at Whole Foods Markets (NASDAQ: WFMI) congratulated the company yesterday for agreeing to implement the resolution‚s call for labeling of Whole Foods‚ private label products with respect of genetically engineered ingredients. The change was announced at Whole Foods‚ annual stockholder meeting in New York City.

"We are enormously pleased with this development and applaud Whole Foods for continuing to take leadership on the issue of genetically engineered foods," said Shelley Alpern of Social Research & Advocacy at Trillium Asset Management, the proposal‚s lead proponent. "Whole Foods customers are exactly the demographic that wants to see this information on product labels, and will reward the company accordingly." The shareholder group that filed the proposal included Portfolio 21, Progressive Investments, Green Century Capital Managment, the General Board of Pensions and Health Benefits of the United Methodist Church, and Jennifer Clark of Austin, Texas.

The shareholders initiated dialogue with Whole Foods on labeling in 2001. The following year, they withdrew a similar proposal.

In announcing the change, CEO John Mackey asked, "If we don't do this, who will?" Noting the possibility that labeling could invite legal actions, Mackey stated that it would be a "lawsuit worth fighting." The uncertainty stems from the Food & Drug Administration‚s failure to provide final guidelines for labels on genetically engineered foods. The shareholders had argued, however, that careful and accurate wording on Whole Foods‚ part could insulate the company from legal action.

Indigo Teiwes of Progressive Investments stated, "Improving transparency, increasing consumer education, and realizing the full benefit of the company‚s market advantage resulting from this decision is a strategic business move. Given increasing consumer concerns about genetically engineered foods, Whole Foods is taking advantage of a natural opportunity to enhance its market share."

"As an industry leader, whose growth is driven by increasing consumer concern of the purity and safety of food we celebrate Whole Foods commitment to bringing the topic of genetic engineering to the forefront," said Beth Williamson Green Century Capital Management.

Whole Foods did not specify a timeframe for the changes. The company stated that additional information and updates would be available on its web site.