Wal-Mart Response to Cornucopia News Release

The State of Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection sent a letter to Mark Kastel of Cornucopia on May 4, 2007, stating that they are in agreement with the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) conclusions that Wal-Mart is not in violation of the Organic Foods Protection Act or the National Organic Program as alleged in the complaint filed by Cornucopia.  Their conclusion, as has always been Wal-Mart’s position, is that execution of general "locater" signs are the issue and are not a violation.  The complaint is closed and the state of Wisconsin will continue to monitor Wal-Mart to ensure that our "locater" signs are accurate.

To review the State of Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection letters to Mark Kastel of Cornucopia Institute and to Wal-Mart’s attorney, please click on the links below.

Mark Kastel letter

Wal-Mart attorney letter

Wal-Mart is a retailer and is pleased to offer our customers organic food selections that meet the USDA standards for organic products.  It’s important to understand that Wal-Mart itself does not certify or label food as organic. The suppliers and producers of organic foods are responsible for proper certification and labeling. At Wal-Mart, we believe strongly that USDA standards for organic products must not be compromised.  Our customers who buy organic products expect them to meet these standards and we agree.

Many Wal-Mart customers consider it more convenient to find the organic alternatives they want if those selections are mixed with conventional offerings on our shelves. That’s why our customers will find dry grocery, frozen and dairy organic offerings displayed alongside their brand name conventional counterparts.

For additional convenience in helping our customers identify the organic item displayed alongside the conventional counterparts, organic signing can be found throughout our store.  In many cases, customers may find a green organic shelf tag directly in front of the organic item to help identify that an organic alternative is available. 

Wal-Mart has more than 2,000 locations with organic food selections and many offer more than 200 organic items in addition to thousands of non-organic offerings.  We realize it may simply be an execution signing issue should a green identifying tag/sign be inadvertently or mistakenly placed by or accidentally shift in front of the wrong item.  Our green organic signing is for additional customer convenience to show that an organic alternative is available.  It is not a label.  The USDA certification label is featured on the packaging of the organic selections we offer and consumers should always rely on this USDA certification label for proper organic verification.

In order to aid our associates in maintaining accuracy to better serve our customers, we have sent updated procedural guidelines to our stores for proper management of this signing.  Our operations team continues to work with store associates to have the identifying tags and signing checked periodically for accuracy