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Call it the John Mackey rule.

The Board of directors at Whole Foods has issued strict guidelines to its senior executives barring them “from posting messages about Whole Foods, its competitors or vendors on Internet forums that aren't sponsored by the natural-foods chain,” according to this morning’s Wall Street Journal.

The directive is a direct result of a minor controversy created earlier this year when it was revealed that Whole Foods CEO John Mackey had been anonymously using Internet message boards to hype his own company and disparage Wild Oats for seven years – and then launched a takeover bid for Wild Oats that ultimately was successful.

While the board has been supportive of Mackey, it conducted an internal investigation and then turned those findings over to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which continues to investigate the situation.

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