2009–2014 Timeline

A look back at some of the biggest headlines to affect the industry over the past five years.

Written By:
WholeFoods Magazine Staff
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See the rest of our 30th Anniversary Coverage:
Letter from the Publisher
| Profile of Howard Wainer
Five Trends over Five Years | Company Bios

In most cases, the events are listed under the months in which they were reported by WholeFoods Magazine.

 

2009
January
• Whole Foods Market (WFM) sells $425M of stock.
• USDA approves first rules about organic fish.

February
• WFM objects to FTC’s block of Wild Oats merger.
• FDA allows stevia’s GRAS status.
• WholeFoods Magazine celebrates 25th
anniversary under the management of the Wainer Family.

March
• Salmonella taints countless peanut butter products.
• Sen. Durbin wants extensive food safety reform.
• FDA issues final guidance on GE animals.
• New Yorkers scorn 18% tax hike on soda.

April
• Pres. Obama sets sights on healthcare reform.
• Sales of HFCS-free products soar.
• AHA supports omega-6s for heart health.
• FAO predicts drop in cereal prices.

May
• New AER labeling may cost industry $44.8M.
• Margaret Hamburg, M.D., is FDA Commissioner.
• Congress considers ban of BPA in food containers.

June
• Cash-strapped consumers turn to supplements.
• Distributor Tree of Life goes up for sale.
• Two million pounds of pistachios are recalled.
• Organic farming produces more nutritious food.
• Gluten-free foods still on the rise.

July
• Supplements add $60B to U.S. economy.
• FDA seizes Hydroxycut bodybuilding supplements.
• U.S., Canada, Australia to co-develop on GM wheat.

August
• Good Earth is WholeFoods’ Retailer of the Year.
• Hamburg promises tougher food safety enforcement.
• Biggest-ever vitamin D, omega-3s study planned.
• FDA will allow some health claims for selenium.

September
• Attorney J. Emord sues FDA for health claim rights.
• WholeFoods offers private labeling webcast.
• The Vitamin Shoppe files for IPO.
• Industry mourns loss of Shari Lieberman.
• New guidance on AERs available.
• Organic food nutritionally the same, study says.
• Congress passes Food Safety Enhancement Act.

October
• Hamburg outlines plan for speedy enforcement.
• WFM shoppers shun Mackey’s healthcare stance.
• Emord straps FDA with more lawsuits.
• Americans say, “Hold the salt!”
• Harkin to chair HELP Committee.

November
• Legitimacy of bodybuilding supplements questioned.
• USDA, FDA to collaborate on food safety standards.
• National soda tax deemed controversial.
• Atrium buys Garden of Life.
• Food facilities required to report adulteration.

December
• FDA promises uniform front-of-packaging system by 2011.
• The Vitamin Shoppe goes public.
• Emord again takes FDA to task.
• IOM suggests overhaul of school meals.
• HELP Committee has Food Safety Modernization Act hearing.

2010
January

• USDA Organic certification in the works for HABA.
• Food Safety Initiative advances in Senate.
• IOM petitioned for omega-3s DRIs.
• Supplement Safety Now group asks Congress for more regs.

February
• DEA classifies three compounds as steroids.
• KeHE buys Tree of Life.
• Mackey resigns as WFM chairman.
• FDA issues draft guidance on liquid supplements, drinks.
• Ethnic food sales continue to rise.

March
• Sen. McCain proposes Dietary Supplements Safety Act.
• FDA concerned about infants ingesting BPA.
• Industry supports Haiti earthquake victims.
• Martek buys Amerifit Brands.
• Atrium acquires Nutri-Health Supplements.

April
• NPA extends standard to homecare.
• Lawsuit filed against fish oil makers.
• Ear candle companies receive warning letters.
• USDA issues rule on pasture access for organic livestock.

May
• WholeFoods Magazine launches www.
wholefoodsmagazine.com
.

• 17 food makers sent warning letters for claims, mislabeling.
• Audit points to problems with organic program.
• NPA West and Rocky Mountains offices close.

June
• New Seasons Market is WholeFoods’
Retailer of the Year.

• Organic hot despite cold economy.
• FDA seeks data on front-of-package labeling.
• EPA to assess BPA’s effect on environment.

July
• IOM asks FDA to hold supplements/foods to drugs standards.
• Pesticides linked to ADHD.
• Mackey to share title of WFM CEO.
• WFM bans krill oil sales.
• Sprouts Farmers Market opens 50th store.
• Center for Food Safety (CFA) sues Monsanto over GMOs.

August
• Congress says no to expanding FTC’s authority.
• Alfalfa’s reclaims Boulder store.
• WFM pulls kombucha from shelves.
• BASF buys Cognis.
• Supreme Court overturns ban on GM alfalfa seeds.
• FDA launches safety reporting e-portal.

September
• Dietary guidelines call for lifestyle changes.
• Artificial food dyes linked to cancer, ADHD.
• NBTY now owned by Carlyle Group
• All One is acquired by Nutraceutical Corp.
• Hain acquires Greek Gods yogurts.

October
• Monk fruit sweetener gaining popularity.
• Trygg Pharma buys EPAX.
• Organic eggs hot after mainstream salmonella outbreak.
• Industry groups fight against expanded AERs.
• October named non-GMO month.

November
• WholeFoods’ first eDirectory launched.
• FDA weighs decision to allow GM salmon.
• Tunie’s ownership shifts to Taylor Hamilton.
• WFM enacts new green packaging guidelines.
• Corn refiners petition FDA to rename HFCS.
• NPA certifies first home care ingredients.

December
• FTC targets POM Wonderful marketing.
• 11 senators try to halt GM salmon approval.
• FTC sets sights on greenwashers.

2011
January

• IOM offers first RDAs for vitamin D, calcium.
• Report cites benefits of organic dairy.
• Food prices climb due to inflation.
• Jack LaLanne passes away at the age of 96.
• Food Safety Modernization Act becomes law.

February
• DSM buys Martek for $1.09B.
• Court orders destruction of GM sugar beets.

March
• USDA offers changes to “made with organic” rules.
• DuPont buys Danisco for $5.8B.
• Certain meats must now feature nutrition facts.

April
• Sprouts Farmers Market merges with Henry’s.
• The Vitamin Shoppe announces expansion.
• Spending on organic food rises.
• USDA deregulates GM alfalfa, allows planting of GM sugar beets.
• GNC hits stock market with IPO.

May
• Japan’s tsunami/earthquake cause uptick in potassium iodide sales.
• FDA fails to restrict harmful artificial food dyes.
• Anti-GM lawsuits filed against USDA by CFS.
• Higher doses of vitamin D recommended.
• Pfizer sells off Capsugel for $2.375B.

June
• NPA celebrates 75th tradeshow.
• WholeFoods Magazine mourns loss of circulation director and co-founder, Sandra Wainer.
• Food Safety Modernization Act gives FDA more authority.
• Willner Chemists celebrates 100th anniversary.
• Natur-Tyme named WholeFoods’ Retailer of the Year.

July
MyPlate replaces food pyramid.
• Flooding affects agriculture in U.S. South.
• AGree initiative launched to change food policy.
• Fair Trade logo boosts sales.

August
• Durbin pushes Dietary Supplement Labeling Act.
• NDI draft guidance issued.
• Retailer aids Joplin, MO, tornado victims.

September
• FDA set to define “gluten free.”
• Industry reacts to proposed NDI guidance (NDIG).

October
• Backlash continues against NDIG.
• Glutino acquired by Smart Balance.
• FDA raids raw milk distributor.

November
• Grassroots efforts organized against NDIG.
• Industry loses Carlson Labs founder John Carlson.

December
• Big studies question supplement safety.
• FDA considers renaming high-fructose corn syrup.
• FDA says “no” to weight-loss claims for hoodia.
• Durbin questions enforcement of supplements AERs.
• Wild Flavors acquires some of A.M. Todd Ingredients.
• Parry Limited acquires Valensa.
• FDA sends warning letters to HCG makers.

2012
January
• Congress proposes changes to school lunches.
• Vitamin E prices on the rise.

February
• Military investigates DMAA as cause of deaths.
• USDA warns of fraudulent organic certifications.
• Global grain production takes hit.
• USDA exempts algal DHA from organic standards.

March
• Just Label It Campaign collects signatures supporting GMO labeling.
• Senators ask FDA to drop NDIG. Agency says no.
• Warning letter sent in response to Expo East-disseminated literature.
• Organic milk supply falls short of demand.
• Bragg Live Foods celebrates 100th anniversary.

April
• EU and U.S. agree to organic equivalency.
• Sprouts merges with Sunflower Farmers Market.
• Pfizer buys Alacer (maker of Emergen-C).
• General Mills buys Food Should Taste Good.
• Ian’s and Horizon Wild merge into Elevation Brands.
• Dole buys Mrs. May’s.
• Arsenic in organic products stirs concern.
• Warning letters sent to 10 DMAA manufacturers.

May
• Annie’s Inc. goes public.
• Proctor & Gamble buys New Chapter.
• Schiff buys Airborne for $150 million.
• WholeFoods Magazine launches Market Research Store at www.wholefoodsmagazine.com/marketresearch.
• DSM buys Ocean Nutrition.

June
• Jimbo’s…Naturally! named WholeFoods’ Retailer of the Year.
• Consumer group asks FDA to drop “corn syrup.”
• Annual organic sales rise to $30B.

July
• FDA nixes “corn syrup” name change.
• Durbin anti-supplement legislation voted down.
• Court upholds FTC’s complaint against POM Wonderful.
• Smart Balance acquires Udi’s.

August
• John Gay signs on as NPA CEO.
• Industry mourns loss of retailer Joseph M. Bassett.
• WholeFoods Magazine launches mobile site.
• Childhood obesity correlated with soft drinks.
• FDA will reconsider NDIG.

September
• Drought takes toll on organic industry.
• Durbin contacts industry trades about GMP compliance.
• Bill aims to stop illegal anabolic steroids.
• Antibiotics use in livestock under scrutiny.

October
• UK outlaws DMAA.
• The Organic Center merges with the OTA.
• Bioforce USA buys Annemarie Borlind.
• Study says organics aren’t healthier.
• Stores tell Hershey to source cocoa ethically.
• Hurricane Sandy affects East Coast businesses.

November
• CA votes down Prop 37, which would require GMO labeling.
• FTC finalizes Green Guides.
• Report focuses on arsenic in rice.
• FDA releases health findings about energy drinks.
• Explosion destroys krill oil production plant.

December
• Bayer buys Schiff.
• WholeFoods prints 35th Annual Retailer Survey.
• Sales of non-GMO products soar.
• Food facilities must renew registration biennially.

2013
January

• WholeFoods Magazine, NPA collaborate on Sandy disaster relief.
• Sunland peanut facility closes for salmonella.
• Rule enacted for 5% residue testing in organic.
• NBTY buys Balance Bar.

February
• Vitamin Shoppe buys Super Supplements.
• NPA MarketPlace canceled.
• JAMA, NYT publish opinions on energy drinks.
• GMO labeling ballot initiative submitted in WA.

March
• WholeFoods launches SourceBook Online, http://directory.wholefoodsmagazine.com.
• Sen. Harkin announces retirement for 2015.
• Durbin seeks answers on energy drinks.
• FDA gets 32,000+ comments on Frankenfish.
• POM Wonderful appeal blocked.
• Sprouts Farmers Market opens 150th store.
• USDA shuts down produce-testing program.

April
• WFM to have GMO labeling policy by 2018.
• Court says supplements are food under Prop 65.
• Warren Buffett’s company buys H.J. Heinz Co.
 
May
• GAO releases report on AERs.
• Bodybuilder Joe Weider passes away.
 
June
• Discrepancies found on caffeine content labels.
• FDA tells shoppers to stay away from DMAA.
• Sprouts Farmers Market is WholeFoods Magazine Retailer of the Year.
• Federal GMO labeling bill introduced.
• Solgar founder Allen Skolnick passes away.

July
• NPA proposes to expand membership.
• Nourish America helps OK tornado victims.
• Connecticut passes first GMO labeling law.
• Sprouts Farmers Market files for IPO.
• Supreme Court sides with Monsanto in GMO seed case.
• WhiteWave breaks away from Dean Foods.
• Hain Celestial Group acquires Ella’s Kitchen, Danone buys Happy Family, Campbell Soup buys Plum Organics.

August
• FDA seizes 3,200 cases of DMAA from GNC.
• AMA says obesity is a disease.
• KeHE drops Tree of Life name.
• B&G Foods acquires Pirate Brands.
• FMC buys Epax.

September
• FDA sets final standard for “gluten free”.
• FDA wants illegal diabetes claims stopped.
• WholeFoods Magazine debuts The Gourmet Guru column.
• NBTY’s Arthur Rudolph passes away.

October
• WholeFoods Magazine publisher observes vitamin distribution in Peru with Vitamin Angels.
• Study questions use of oral aloe.
• FDA okays spirulina-based blue coloring.

November
• Colorado floods spur industry to charity.
• NPA membership criteria to remain the same.
• U.S. and Japan agree on organic equivalency.
• New bill proposes changes to nutrition labels.
• “Monsanto Protection Act” may get rolled back.
• Washington State GMO label measure fails.

December
• Call issued for FDA enforcement of NDI
requirements.
• Retailers vow not to sell GE salmon.

2014
January

• FDA seizes more DMAA supplements.
• Journal retracts study linking GMOs to cancer.
• Report suggests GMOs a factor in gluten sensitivity.
• Trans-fats may be banned by FDA.

February
• Partnership results in natural store brands on Walmart.com.
• Industry responds to negative editorial on multis.
• WFM to drop Chobani due to GMOs.
• WholeFoods Magazine celebrates 30 years of ownership by the Wainer Family.
• WholeFoods president Howard Wainer wins President’s Award from the Natural Products Association.

 

Published in WholeFoods Magazine, February 2014