German grocery store chain Aldi has announced that it will be removing eight pesticides, including three neonicotinoids, from all products in its U.S. stores. This announcement is one of several choices made by the chain to create a healthier brand, which may lead it to rival the current leader of the healthy grocery store market, upmarket health food chain Whole Foods.
In addition to the removal of these pesticides, Aldi plans to expand its organic food brands and add more gluten-free items to its offerings. The chain has already removed synthetic colors, partially hydrogenated oils, and MSG from private label products, which make up 90 percent of sales. It has also added more products free from artificial growth hormones in the meat and dairy aisles; yogurt, sour cream, and cottage cheese are now free of artificial growth hormones, joining milk, which was already devoid of these hormones.
The chain has also begun to offer more high-end foods in its stores, such as artisanal cheeses and coconut oil. This move makes Aldi's offerings more comparable to those found at Whole Foods.
For years, Whole Foods was recognized as “America’s Healthiest Grocery Store,” but a recent attempt to update its slogan to “World’s Healthiest Grocery Store” was denied by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on July 16. The agency deemed the claim laudatory, according to reports from the Washington Post.
The pesticides that Aldi will be removing from its products include Thiamethoxam, deemed “moderately hazardous to humans” by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations; Chlorpyrifos, which has been linked to several autoimmune disorders; and Cypermethrin, which the Environmental Protection Agency has cautioned poses an acute risk to honeybees, as is the case with many neonicotinoids. Other pesticides on the list include Clothianidin, Deltamethrin, Fipronil, Imidacloprid, and Sulfoxaflor.
Aldi is a leading global discount supermarket chain, with 1,500 stores in the U.S., and plans to open 500 more by 2018. Aldi has nearly 10,000 stores worldwide.
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Aldi image via Shutterstock