Our Philosophy Behind Our Standards

  • We believe in giving our customers high quality food and product choices.
  • We continuously do our homework on issues affecting food quality so that our customers can trust us with their purchases.
  • We value our community by supporting local brands, organizations and non-profits and by being good stewards through environmental and social conscious practices.
  • We promote conscious living through healthy food and products to improve the lives of our customers.
  • We strive to empower our customers through transparency and providing reliable information for them to make informed choices in store.

Our Standards

Customer Empowerment
Today’s health conscious consumer has to carefully weigh food, health and product related information with the risks associated with the practical convenience of consuming such items. At Ellwood Thompson’s we wish that all of the educational information we provide our customers had a solution or an alternative product that our customers could find in our store. Unfortunately, due to food manufacturing practices, environmental causes, product availability and other impeding factors, at times there is no obvious answer in our product choices that fully addresses important food and health related information. Big box natural food chains are no different in this regard.  The difference is that we will keep you informed regardless if there is not an obvious choice in our store or anywhere else.

Advertising To Children/Unhealthy Products
Food advertising significantly influences children’s diet and health, especially when it comes to food choices.  The American Psychological Association states that children are unable to distinguish and understand the true purpose behind many forms of advertising.  Using children as a means to pressure their parents to make unhealthy food choices is wrong.  For example, corporate “tie-ins” are part of advertising schemes to get children to want junk food because their favorite recognized TV cartoon characters tell them to urge their parents to make unhealthy food purchases.  Parents who come into Ellwood Thompson’s will not have to deal with this unfortunate advertising practice because unlike big box natural food chains we’ve eliminated all products that are packaged for and targeted to children through recognized TV cartoon characters and similar means.  In addition, we continue to offer ways for parents to help educate their children on the importance of good nutrition and making healthy lifestyle choices.

Produce Free of Biosolids
We are very concerned about the growing practice of taking sewage sludge and other solids separated from municipal waste and using these biosolids fro fertilizing produce.  Biosolids include human waste and industrial chemical residues that contain toxins and pathogens before processing.  Big box natural food stores ignore this serious health risk in our food supply or are too slow to take any meaningful action to protect their customers.  We don’t want to take this risk with our customers – pure and simple.  As such, our vendors guarantee to us that 100% of all food from our produce department will NOT be fertilized with biosolids.

Non-GMO Produce Department
Up to 90% of soybeans, corn, cotton, canola and sugar beets are genetically engineered and incorporated into our food system without government required labeling.  Genetically modified organisms (GMO’s) are created by folk in lab coats who gene-splice vegetable seedlings with poisonous pesticides and herbicides to protect plants from disease and insects.  The aim is to create “super-plants” that yield more profitable crops.  The jury is out on the exact health effects of GMO’s but the risk is too great.  With high-risk crops and food such as soybeans, corn, cotton, canola (rapeseed), sugar beets, potatoes dairy products, animal products and vegetable oil finding their way into the majority of the products we Americans eat, it takes grocers leading the charge to demand better for their customers.  That is exactly why we are taking the following steps:

  • Require labeling of all products containing GMO’s by 2016.
  • Carry produce that is certified organic or certified naturally grown.
  • Carry produce from local vendors who certify in writing that they do not use GMO seeds
  • Provide GMO-free, all organic options in our bulk bins.
  • Guarantee that no new products containing GMO’s will be brought into the store.
  • Phase-out existing products that contain GMOs and replace them with non-GMO alternatives.

The Deli

Healthy Oils
Cooking oils turn toxic when heated past their applicable heat tolerance levels.  Certain oils, because they are processed with chemicals and/or high heat refining, according to some experts, may already be toxic when they are bottled for consumer sale.  Big box natural food chains try to convince their customers that these oils are still healthy choices despite considerable evidence to the contrary.  Such oils are relatively cheap to cook with so there is a strong incentive for big box natural food chains to convince their customers that cheap but so-called “healthy” oils are good choices for their good and deli bars.  That’s why you see the same cheap cooking oils used at the food and deli bars at big box natural food chains.  We don’t use controversial cheap oils because they are better for our bottom line.  We don’t pass these risks on to our customers.

In the deli, we only use:

  • Olive Oil: organic, extra virgin, first cold press, unrefined and non-GMO
  • Coconut Oil: organic, extra virgin, unrefined and non-GMO
  • Safflower/Sunflower Oil (for cooking): Organic, non-GMO, and high oleic acid.  This oil is naturally refined using citric acid (from citrus fruit) and heat less than 250 degrees.

We believe that these oils are healthier choices than canola, corn, and soy oils very frequently found in big box natural food chains.  We encourage our customers to compare for themselves.

Locally Made & Prepared Foods
Big box natural food chains typically create their prepared foods in large, regional processing kitchens and then ship the “homemade” prepared foods to their local chain stores in a multi-state geographic region.  We believe that true quality in prepared foods occurs when either made fresh in-house or from local business who supply us every day with fresh and quality options for our customers.  As a small independent business, we control and monitor our prepared food selection for our customers.  We offer creative and appetizing daily selections so that customers do not see the same items day to day.  We emphasize high quality and health conscious preparations for our prepared foods.  All of the handling, packaging and shipping from faraway commissary kitchens diminish taste and flavor.  We believe customers can tell the difference.  It’s not easy but this approach is a signature to Ellwood Thompson’s and this extra effort distinguishes us from big box natural food chains.

Environmentally Friendly Plates & Utensils
All of the plates in our prepared foods department, unlike big box natural food chains, are melamine-free and microwave safe.  Melamine is a resin that is not microwave-safe and can chip, break or crack if overheated.  When heated at high temperatures, a melamine product can potentially release toxins into food.  And oftentimes melamine resin dinnerware contains small amounts of formaldehyde, a potent carcinogen.  In addition we offer reusable metal silverware and reusable cups for drinking water.  All of these initiatives allow us to provide you with healthier options for eating breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Sweeteners In Our Prepared Foods
In our kitchen, organic raw agave or organic honey are used in small ratios as an emulsifying agent in vinaigrette and help balance out acid, vinegar or heat. Organic raw agave is not being applied as a sweetener. We use organic honey, organic maple syrup, organic cane sugar or organic light brown sugar when necessary for sweetening sauces.

The Products We Carry

No Factory Farmed Dairy Products
We believe is it unconscionable to raise animals in cruel and inhumane environments and with inhumane practices.  We do not care about costs savings and other arguments that support such practices – it goes against our human values.

Free of High Fructose Corn Syrup
High Fructose Corn Syrup is a cheap and highly concentrated sweetener found in the find print of ingredient labels of many packaged products.  It is connected to illness like heart disease, obesity, cancer, dementia, live failure and tooth decay.  As such, we refuse to carry products containing this harmful sweetening agent.

Non-Toxic Cleaners and Detergents Made with Plant-Based Ingredients
Many household cleaners and detergents contain toxic chemicals that are proven to cause serious health risks if mishandled or accidently misused by our customers.  We only carry non-toxic cleaners and detergents with safe and effective plant-based ingredients.

Body Care Products that are Free of Parabens and Other Harmful Chemical Preservative or Fillers
Parabens are the most widely used preservatives in consumer body care products.  Parabens have been proven to mimic estrogen in the body, a hormone that if found in excess can be linked to the occurrence of breast cancer.  Parabens are also worrisome for men and can be absorbed, and metabolized fairly quickly.  This is one example of harmful chemical preservatives and fillers frequently found in body care products.  We review all body care products and will not offer any products containing harmful chemicals and fillers.

Paper Products Containing a Minimum of 80% Recycled Paper and Free of Chlorine and/or Bleach
Chlorine and Bleach are toxic to humans and are no less toxic when used in manufacturing paper to give it a white color appearance.  Recycling is fundamental to the future survival of our planet and is an important environmental practice.  Offering primarily recycled paper products that are free of toxic chemicals makes sense for our customers.

Meat & Seafood

Meat that is Free of Irradiation
Radiation is dangerous to the human body.  Irradiation is the process by which meat products are treated to kill harmful bacteria.  Not only can irradiation change the flavor and texture of meat products but it can mask filthy conditions in slaughterhouses, posing large sanitation risks with E. Coli, Salmonella and other deadly food-born diseases spread through feces and urine.  The risk with irradiation is too great for our customers.  We do not sell meat products that have been exposed to irradiation, in any store department.

Meat that is Free of Growth Hormones and Antibiotics
Sadly, inhumane practices are used to raise animals for slaughter and these practices include giving animals hormones to maximize their growth and antibiotics in an effort to prevent sickness under inhumane circumstances.  There is much evidence that ingesting meats that came from hormone and antibiotic filled animals is harmful to humans.  We believe the risks are not worth the reward.  We only purchase meat from farmers who believe in humane raising practices and who do not administer hormones or antibiotics to their livestock.

Meat that is Free of Nitrates and Nitrites
Nitrates and Nitrites are meat-curing ingredients that are required to achieve the characteristic flavor, color and stability of cured meat.  They also serve to protect the meat against botulism and rancidity.  However, both nitrates and nitrites have been found to be toxic to humans.  In children and infants the consumption of nitrates (largely in relation to drinking water and water used formula) has been know to lead to “blue baby syndrome”, a syndrome that impairs oxygen delivery results in a blue skin color.  In adults excessive consumption of nitrates and nitrites has been associated with increased incidence of cancer, brain tumors, leukemia and nasopharyngeal.

No Factory Farmed Meat Products
We believe is it unconscionable to raise animals in cruel and inhumane environments and with inhumane practices.  We do not care about costs savings and other arguments that support such practices – it goes against our human values.

Fish that is Free of Growth Hormones and Antibiotics
For the same reasons we refuse to sell meat containing hormones and antibiotics, we will not offer fish containing hormones and antibiotics to our customers.

Fish that are Raised Using Sustainable Methods
Simply put, humans are significantly depleting the world’s wild fish supply.  To the extent that fish suppliers use sustainable practices that preserve the quality of fish and the continuation of their species, we choose to support such suppliers.

Bakery & Cheese

Unbleached and Un-bromated Flours in Our Breads
Bleaching flour is a chemical process used to achieve a whiter color.  The chemicals used to achieve this are: axodicardonamide, chlorine dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and potassium bromate.  In addition to bleaching, another popular process in the production of flour is called bromating.  Bromating is when the flour is treated with potassium bromate, a category 2B carcinogen, to improve the dough’s elasticity and rise.  In the European Union the use of chlorine bromates and peroxides are not allowed.  And in the UK and Canada the process of bromating is banned.  If our government will not ban them, then we will.  Our bakery does not produce any baked goods using bleached or bromated flours.

Cheese Free of Dyes, Hormones, Stabilizers and Preservatives
Food dyes have been around since the turn of the 20th century but have evolved to include various synthetic ingredients found harmful when ingested.  That coupled with added growth hormones in animals milked for cheese production and the use of mold and bacteria preventing preservative like potassium sorbate, are all reasons we have taken a stand against allowing cheese in-store that include such ingredients.

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