Fancy yuppie grocery store Whole Foods is known mostly for being a good place to spend eight dollars on a tomato that was planted in the ground without chemicals, sung to, and watered with organic unicorn juice on a farm with “ethical” work conditions or whatever. Whole Foods is also apparently run by people who like to make puns about Ramadan, which is not something that is done in this country nowadays, because of terrorism, obviously.

Last week, the suburban staple decided to tout “Saffron Road,” a new line of Halal-certified frozen food, to coincide with the Muslim holiday of Ramadan. Halal foods are items permitted under Islamic dietary guidelines. In a post on the company’s website entitled “What’s this halal about,” Whole Foods offered a chance to win free samples because “whether you eat halal because of your religious dietary guidelines or you simply prefer to choose food that’s made with high-quality, responsibly farmed ingredients, then Saffron Road has some tasty offerings for you.”

It seems that a “very small” contingent of consumers and right-wing bloggers simply preferred to throw an apoplectic fit. Thus, in apparent genuflection to this bloc, Whole Foods sent an email to all its U.S. stores specifically telling the franchises not to promote Ramadan this year. The Houston Press obtained a copy of the email:

“It is probably best that we don’t specifically call out or ‘promote’ Ramadan,” reads a portion of that email. “We should not highlight Ramadan in signage in our stores as that could be considered ‘Celebrating or promoting’ Ramadan.”

This reversal marks “a significant departure from years past, when Whole Foods has promoted its halal items during Ramadan with small signs that displayed a crescent moon, the symbol of Islam.” What’s more, the move is hardly likely to placate the small number of fringe bloggers who are already boycotting the chain for “pimping and promoting–’Canaan Fair Trade’ and ‘Palestinian Fair Trade’ Olive Oil.” But given the conservative credentials of Whole Foods owner John Mackey, perhaps its surprising the company even considered recognizing Islam in the first place.

Whoever came up with that “What’s this halal about” thing is really sad, but hooray, another victory for the insane unemployed who like to write comments about evil Muslins and their fake holidays. [ThinkProgress]

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  • Barb

    They should change the name to "Ass-Whole Foods."

    • Radiotherapy®

      Good one Barb, good one.

    • Beowoof

      I think that sums it all up. Nice work.

    • The Barb is sharp today.

    • spinozasgod

      sounds like a pro-gay agenda….ass-whole…

    • Tundra Grifter

      Here in NorCal it is known as "Whole Paycheck."

    • petehammer

      I recently, out of desperation, shopped at the WF in Vancouver, BC (we had just arrived, it was late, we were hungry). For dinner for five (stuff from the deli) and breakfast the next morning (cereal and milk) I spent $140 CAD ($150 US).

      Ass-Whole Foods is right.

  • Callyson

    Wait, conservatives are mad at Whole Foods now? I thought they'd still be grateful about that CEO's brainless take on HCR…
    …also, where will Kortney get her cucumber from now?

    • Radiotherapy®

      And he's like the most fair CEO out there. Crying emoticon.

    • PristinePantalones

      Oh, you thought Kortney's kukumber was *organic*? No unicorn juice for our girl, dood.

    • horsedreamer_1

      Just live well, eat food like they sell at his store, & you'll be fine. You'll never even need a doctor for an annual check-up.

      … I hope this entitled douche has a familial trait for ass-cancer. Fast-moving.

  • x111e7thst

    Yes sure laugh, but if you let halal into Whole Foods it's just a short step to sharia in Sears. Or whatever.

    • Sue4466

      Alliteration FTW.

    • I know! Just look at all the freaking open davening and peyos and saying brachot before eating the free samples at Kroger (Ralph's for all you left coasties) all because they let a kosher section in!

    • Lascauxcaveman

      "♬ ♪ Come and see the Sharia side of Sears ♬ ♪"

    • SilverTsunami

      "sharia in Sears;" darn close to brilliant!

  • TX_Bluebonnets

    Yes, Callyson, conservatives shop at Whole Foods now.

    The other day, I was watching my kid flip channels, and she ended up on TBN's religious kid channel, the inappropriately named "Smile of a Child" channel. She settled in to watch it, and I began to vigilantly watch too–making sure there weren't any fetus protesters, pope-hating fundamentalists, oddly out of place Bible verses, or talking cucumbers. All of these I consider bad influences.

    So a cooking show for kids comes on. What, you might ask, were they making? Actually, tasty looking apple caramel sundaes made with–I shit you not–organic everything.

    I remember, as little as 5 years ago, fundies telling me that organics were all part of Satan's ever-escalating plot of world domination through chemical reduction. But apparently, there has been some kind of shift in fundie land, and a lot of them now are on the organic bandwagon.

    • Guppy06

      Organic food: the Christian Science approach to agriculture.

    • Next thing you know they will all be growing stupid hipster beards and making their own charcuterie from ethically raised pigs.

    • Lascauxcaveman

      But apparently, there has been some kind of shift in fundie land, and a lot of them now are on the organic bandwagon.

      I'm not surprised. Those goofy little bible-quoting vegetable dudes on Veggie Tales are all organic.

      And gay.

  • TX_Bluebonnets

    "Eat what Adam ate" is something I've heard from more than one of them, and from more than one church. The kid's cooking show just confirmed the trend.

    Delightfully, the generically white, WASPy woman making the show defined organics: "They're just grown more naturally, with fewer chemicals, more like what they ate in the Bible…" She carefully avoided a discussion about the religious ethics of spraying hellish concoctions of chemicals who have never been tested in combinations onto all our food for a couple of generations. She did not mention the freakish cancer epidemic, not all of which can be blamed on tobacco.

    But she said it's really good to eat food as much like God made it and intended us to eat it as possible.

    Fortunately, my kid grew bored and we switched to cartoons or books or something. I forget what.

    • Schmannnity

      "Eat what Adam ate"


      • The fruit of the tree of knowledge?

        Oh noes!

      • horsedreamer_1

        Quite possibly. The condemnation of Sodom came later in the Book.

      • Guppy06

        I thought Lilith got in trouble when she asked for that.

        • horsedreamer_1

          That's why she had to become a lesbian.

          (I've seen Ani di Franco in concert, so I think I'm allowed to joke about this.)

          • Crank_Tango

            I was actually in her bedroom once, and so I say this is a little too soon.

          • horsedreamer_1

            I am so jealous, now.

          • Crank_Tango

            yep she lived four blocks away! from me in buffalo and came into the nursery I worked at. I knew her by name but didn't know it was her–I just thought she was a super cool chick with green hair and tats. Then her bf and I were talking about quebec and he says "ani did a show up there…" and it clicked. we got a tour of the house, including the bedroom LOL.
            she was super cool and down to earth. like I said, at first I didn't even know she was a famous.

    • PubOption

      I can't see the fundies eating locusts and wild honey.

      • LesBontemps

        Mmmmm, locusts. (A refreshing change from hobo beans.)

  • Mahousu

    I'll confess, I can't quite see how you would promote a line of food for Ramadan. "Here are some great items you can't eat now! Hungry? Mouth watering? Well, TOUGH, you gotta wait until it's dark!"

    • Radiotherapy®

      Fasting food?

    • doloras

      Many Muslins actually put on weight during Ramadan, on account of the insane feasting which goes on from sundown.

  • Texan_Bulldog

    Meh…no surprise here. The CEO of Whole Foods is a right wing dick. He does a good job of hiding it with all the Whole Foods earthy marketing/branding but it's all a smoke screen.

  • Pragmatist2

    Is Whole foods actually afraid they will lose their Tea Party customers? Both of them or just one? These people thing "Organic" is a Communist plot and diabetes is a Constitutionally guaranteed right?

  • exmartinette

    This is just part of Whole Foods new line of frozen, organic grass-fed anusburgers. Now Sharia free!

    • DashboardBuddha

      "Now Sharia free! "

      That would be some awesome culture jamming…put up little official looking signs/stickers around the store.

      • horsedreamer_1

        It's going to suck having to fire her. She's our best produce clerk.

  • MissusBarry

    (a) halal lamb gets my salivary glands going just thinking about it
    (b) ok, nevermind, I'm sticking with drool in this comment

  • MissusBarry

    First they came for the halal lamb and I said nothing. Then they came for the kosher dills…

    And then the teabaggers lost their fucking minds when they realized tacos are fucking messican food.

  • There's also a certain small but vocal group that may raise hell when they find out that many products in their favorite market are "kosher" for the Jews, too.

    • Radiotherapy®

      Parve®, motherfucker or GTFO.

      • MiniMencken

        Parve means it is an item that can be combined with either dairy dishes or meat dishes. A Yeshiva bucher you're not, Mister Radiotherapy-Smartpants.

        • Yeshiva bucher, or yeshiva butcher. Either way, it's funny.

        • finallyhappy

          here in NW DC /suburban Maryland, we have organic, ethically raised, kosher meat- but not from Whole Foods.

    • Beowoof

      Oh I can see a Hebrew National protest coming.

      • finallyhappy

        We already had that- is it enough to be oldtime kosher or do you have to be ethically kosher-the animals, the workers, etc

  • Hostess Twinkies® are good enough for the angels, so they're good enough for me.

    P.S. On a (slightly) more serious note, could this country be any more over?

    It will be far from the first empire to fall because its wealthy elite got too greedy and decided they didn't want to pay for anything anymore.

    • fuflans

      you, sir, madam, are so correct.

      i hope we go out listening to mick jagger.

      • horsedreamer_1

        Like Michael Caine in Children of Men?

      • sarjo

        Listening to him? If this is really the end, I'm gonna capture him and finally fulfill some long-cherished teenage fantasies!

        And yes, I'm willing to share him with other wonkitts.

  • NorthStarSpanx

    “We should not highlight Ramadan in signage in our stores as that could be considered ‘Celebrating or promoting’ Ramadan.”

    Turns out the War on Christmas tis but a police action.

  • iburl

    It's gettin' real in the Whole Foods parking lot
    Eatin' healthy means you're prayin' to Allah a lot

    • Oh, I've seen that one. It's great.

    • emmelemm

      Oh shit, you just made my fucking week. That is hilarious.

      "It's funny cuz it's true!"

  • Frost/Nixon/Robocop

    If I'm not free to purchase halal foods anymore then the terrorists have won, no wait a minute…

  • Swell idea, but I thought that after dark you eat like crazy during Ramadan which probably doesn't include frozen dinners…

    • PristinePantalones

      The Modern Muslim Maman hasn't the time to cook up those enormous stuff-fests after getting home from work and picking up the kids. A line of frozen goodies would help make it feel more like Ramadan — you know, mountains of food to compensate for all the not-eating you had to do all day.

      • I am a modern Maman (albeit Catholic) and even I have time to cook up a storm for my major holidays.

  • Swell idea, but I thought that after dark you eat like crazy during Ramadan which probably doesn't include frozen dinners…

    • any reason I got this listed twice Blair? Kristen? Ken?

      Sorry, I am peevish this evening, I have been reading my sister's batshit crazy teatard blog.

      • Link or GTFO.

        Just kidding. It would be unfair to unleash the Wonketteers on her.

  • mayor_quimby

    If only there was a national chain alternative to whole foods that was not evil…
    well, that is fuckin impossible, even the local giant farmers mkt in ATL is somewhat cultish.
    It is gonna be really hard to raise goats and lobsters on my eighth of an acre hovel. Sigh…

    • finallyhappy

      Trader Joe's?

  • fuflans

    i fucking hate whole foods – ashland, fairfax, whatever. overpriced, obnoxious, poseurs.

    just go buy groceries people.

    sorry it's been a crappy day.

  • Schmannnity

    Does this mean that they will also be keeping the organic goat blood on the DL for Wiccan week?

  • emmelemm

    I'm saddened that Whole Foods CEO is a wingnutter. Anyone got the scuttlebutt on Trader Joes? As happy and hippie as they appear, or secretly fundie and cray-cray?

    • I hear they're waiting to unleash 'Trader Grover's' store brand tea on an unassuming public..

    • libtardbot

      German family business… Albrecht? Also owns the Aldi generic brand only supermarkets.

    • Negropolis

      I hear the guy is more Ron Paul than Michelle Bachmann, not that that is nearly enough difference to really matter to us libtards.

    • StarsUponThars


      "A recent investigation by the AFL-CIO affiliated Solidarity Center found that Trader Joe's is sourcing shrimp from plants in Thailand and Bangladesh where workers as young as 8 years old are subject to sweatshop conditions."

  • Did they run this with a Mohammed cartoon, by any chance?? And have they started selling AA+ graded eggs??

    Answers to these questions would prove a lot.

  • Whole Foods or Whole Paycheck?

  • MiniMencken

    Considering that the Food Hole sells pork products and alcohol, I'd like to know how many observant Moslems actually shop there. But, hey, you can't be too careful, can you, when you're preventing Secret Sharia Supermarkets?

    • BarackMyWorld

      Maybe they shop at Targetted.

    • finallyhappy

      my Whole Foods has no alcohol. I once yelled (in writing) to Whole Foods because they wouldn't sell a certain vegetarian product due to a certain additive. I said "Sell it, You sell DEAD ANIMALS, don't you- they are worse!" I got no answer- duh.

  • Negropolis

    “What’s this halal about”

    Sorry. I think that's pretty clever. People should be thankful they were pushing Ramadan products, at all. After all, you know you've made it in America when your religious holiday is shamelessly commercialized.

    So, Whole Foods is going to back off on promoting its Christmas fare, too, right?

    • Biel_ze_Bubba

      What the halal is the problem?

      • Negropolis

        I know, right? Aren't Allah these jokes funny? If not, I'll just get out of Yaweh.

  • poncho_pilot

    as long as i have an alternate local place to buy a Tofurkey every Thanksgiving, i could give a fuck about Whole Foods.

    "this Mecca we want to shop at Whole Foods! i can Hajj Halal!"

  • I used to like Whole Foods until I realized I couldn't afford to shop there.

  • MARCdMan

    Do these same hotheads get all fired up about Kosher for Passover too?

  • randcoolcatdaddy

    Conservatives pissed off at poseur hipsters selling overpriced mass market groceries to raise money for conservative causes.

    My brain hurts just trying to parse that idea.

    • Biel_ze_Bubba

      Conservatives pissed off at poseur hipsters selling overpriced mass market halal groceries to raise money for conservative causes.

      Does it make more sense now?

  • LesBontemps

    Next Whole Foods newsletter item:

    "What fresh halal is this?"

    • Nothingisamiss

      +1, Dorothy Parker.

  • EatsBabyDingos

    "Taking off his turban they say "is this man a Jew?"

    Today we are all working for the clampdown.

    • widestanceroman

      What can blue and brown do for you?

  • horsedreamer_1

    I want anonymous to get after Whole Foods, next.


    • Limeylizzie

      Go after Zabar's for the High Holidays, I dare you.

      • Biel_ze_Bubba

        Try getting into Zabars for the High Holidays.

  • johnnymeatworth

    Reading this while eating a bag of Cheetos feels really good, I just have to say….

  • Redhead

    I'm too busy beating my head against a wall to comment

  • horsedreamer_1

    This gives me a great idea for a staging of a Poe story: The Mosque of the Red Death, an allegory of Kenyan Fascist Sharia Socialism, coming to the West Allis Players Theatre, November 2011.

  • widestanceroman

    Why is everyone piling on WF? It's a trusted source for 'Conventional' food at twice the cost of 'Conventional' stores.

  • soojank

    Pretentious white person tabloid, NPR, is reporting this isn't true.

    (screw it, link wasn't working)

  • DahBoner

    I just wish Whole Foods could get some actual organic produce.

    The majority of produce there is the same conventionally grown produce you can buy in any crap supermarket….

  • MiniMencken

    The Houston Press is not a newspaper of record. Actually, it belongs to Libertarians from Phoenix, as in Arizona, that are so hip they shut down one of their weeklies when the staff made moves to join a union. But, on another topic, is Saffron Road near Hershey Highway?

  • Halal is the same as Kosher. My Joo friends tell me that if they can't find a Kosher butcher, they'll go to a Halal butcher. Obviously, Kosher is OK because America hearts Israel. But when Whole Paycheck promotes Halal, it isn't OK because America skull & crossbones Muslins. Now all is clear.


    • finallyhappy

      Halal is not the same as Kosher- at least to Jews who keep kosher- Not sure what kind of kosher your friends keep.

      • *shrug* I dunno. I'm a Gentile. All I know is that they say the method of butchering is the same so it's good enough for them. In any event, this is a ridiculous dispute simply because someone had the balls to mention that Ramadan might be a valid religious observance.

  • Tundra Grifter

    What the halal?

  • ttommyunger

    WF is spinning its wheels catering to the Teabaggers, they do all their food shopping at the Super Wal-Mart and 7-11.

    • horsedreamer_1

      Have you ever had a Bomb Burrito? You'd be hitting up the convenience store, too, in that case.

      • ttommyunger

        I can't remember purchasing anything at a convenience store that goes into my mouth, ever.

  • lochnessmonster

    Here we go, back to Freedom Fries and American Toast.

  • BZ1

    Whole Foods Market Inc. CEO John Mackey. wrote anonymous online attacks under the name rahodeb, against a smaller rival, and questioned why anyone would buy its stock, before Whole Foods announced an offer to buy the other company this year. Sounds like a fine fella…

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