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How Organic is Organic?

I like the idea of buying organic products. They don’t always fit into my budget, but when they do it’s an easy choice to make. Better for me, better for the planet. What could be better?

The trouble is that “organic” is not as definite a term as it would appear in some ways. The USDA standards for organic have loopholes that allow things that are not organically produced to be included in products labeled as “organic”.

The loophole is quite simple and wide. An organic version of the product must simply not be “commercially available”.

Frankly, if that’s the case I don’t want them to produce a supposed organic version of that item. I can cope with things not being organic if they aren’t available. Claiming organic when something clearly is not is merely USDA-allowed (encouraged?) false advertising. The USDA has been working on changing the standards, but this has been a highly controversial process, in large part due to the products they want to allow and the short comment period they attempted.

I do find this frustrating. As I said, if it can’t be produced organically I don’t want it labeled that way. Use an intermediate lableling, such as “produced with organic materials” or something similar for those things that by their very nature cannot be 100% organic.

I know that much of this really has to do with the companies wanting the freedom to reach the organic market, no matter what it is they are really selling. I don’t care what they want. I care what my goals are when I choose organic.

Technorati Tags: organic, usda, usda standards, organic foods

One reply

  1. boogiemum says:

    I totally agree. This is why, regardless of packaging & advertising, it is important to do research and read the ingredient labels.

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