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Your Health & Wellness, Iss #66 -- Be Careful of the "Organic" Label
February 11, 2011

(Guide to a Healthy Lifestyle)

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Be Careful of the "Organic" Label

There's no doubt about it. Organic food purchases are exploding exponentially. The Organic Trade Association says that U.S. sales of organic food and beverages have grown from $1 billion in 1990 to $24.8 billion in 2009. That's a 2400 percent growth in 19 years.

Growth such as this in any business will quickly attract the attention of huge corporate interests. This is exactly what has been happening in the organic food industry. Big food corporations like Hershey Foods, Cadbury, M&M Mars, ConAgra, General Mills, and others have bought up small organic businesses.

When big business buys smaller businesses, many of which are family-owned or started, and produce quality products, standards always seem to get lost in the quest for the bottom line.

Large food corporations have government agencies like the FDA and USDA which for all intents and purposes work in their behalf by allowing loopholes in the organic label. Case in point is the "Made with Organic Ingredients" label.

By definition, this label is allowed to have up to 30 percent nonorganic ingredients. Farm Wars comments:

"It's like putting gasoline in a glass of pure water and charging a premium for that water because it only contains 30 percent of the contaminant. 30 percent contamination is probably better than 100 percent, but would you want to drink it? The whole glass of water is poisoned due to the gasoline, yet the companies selling this product would like you to believe that because it contains pure water it is good."

Government agencies like the FDA and USDA are supposedly working in behalf of he health of tax-paying consumers like you and me. In reality, the edge is with big corporate interests. Farm Wars again comments:

"If the FDA is here to help us instead of make money for its corporate owners, don't you think this agency would demand that labeling be perfectly clear? ORGANIC IS ORGANIC. When it is mixed with non-organic ingredients, it is no longer organic, and no amount of agency double-talk will change that ..."

"The word "organic" is fast becoming a high-dollar money-maker for corporations smart enough to jump on the bandwagon and start marketing their products as "made with organic ingredients," or "certified organic." Even Monsanto is taking advantage of this burgeoning market, and people naïve enough to believe that what we have traditionally thought of as pure, organic food, is still that way, are being duped."

USDA Organic sealThe USDA Certified Organic seal is much better than the Made With Organic Ingredients label. At least 95 percent of a product's ingredients must be organic.

Greedy food manufacturers will charge premium prices for all organically-labeled products. Therefore it is imperative that you get what you pay for. Never buy products which are made with organic ingredients. Look at the very least for the USDA Certified Organic label. Ideally you would want to go with the USDA 100% Organic seal. The seal left represents both.

Here are Dr. Mercola's recommendations for buying the helthiest food possible:

  • Frequent farmer's markets where you can find fresh locally-grown foods that are in season
  • Join a community-supported agriculture program if one is available near you (it allows you to buy produce, meats and other foods directly from the farm)
  • Take part in food coops in your area
  • Plant a garden; even a small space can produce a lot of fresh food and herbs
  • If you must shop in a supermarket, look for locally grown items, which are likely to be fresher than other foods
  • Read the packaged food labels and don't just take the organic label at face value. Remember that the only label guaranteeing the food to be truly organic; grown and manufactured according to organic standards, is the "100% USDA Organic" label

Source: Farm Wars January 6, 2011.

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