NYT reports on the weakening of Organic standards
Posted 08 July 2012 - 01:58 AM
Has ‘Organic’ Been Oversized?. the NYT has an article that's long on words but short on actual facts about the process by which organic is defined and how many accuse large companies of systematically and deliberately weakening the standard. It's something that's not surprising to people who have been following the debate but something that deserves more exposure.
For the most part, the NYT doesn't grapple with the actual issues. Personally, I don't see something like carrageenan as being something that should be excluded from being organic. Xanthan gum is used in tons of organic foods with no real uproar.
Posted 08 July 2012 - 07:03 AM
As you mentioned, this is no surprise as there is a great deal of money to be made. Most of the individual consumers dont chose to take the time to realize what 'certified organic' means.
Edited by rotuts, 08 July 2012 - 07:06 AM.
Posted 08 July 2012 - 07:01 PM
Posted 09 July 2012 - 01:45 AM
Research on whether or not organic food is healthier for individual human beings is not at all conclusive, but there's no question that, since the biosphere is effectively a closed system, it has a limited capacity to absorb the various byproducts of food production. You overload the soil and water with certain substances, and things get unhealthy for everyone, regardless of what they're eating. Yet the article addresses this only briefly, half a dozen lines buried in the middle the article, discussing the (unsuccessful) atttempt to have the herbicide ammonium nonanoate added to the accepted organic list. Compared to other herbicides, ammonium nonanoate is pretty mild stuff, but when you okay one herbicide, you open the door to more aggressive ones (weeds tend to become resistant to herbicides; this is both aggravated by, and a cause of overspraying) that are more problematic, in terms of environmental impact: it becomes harder to say No. The possibility of a future in which crops that have been sprayed with, say, Roundup, being able to bear the 'organic' label is not an unreasonable concern, and who knows? it may be discovered that Roundup is fine for humans, after all. But it plays hell with the environment (in Denmark, for example, they're finding lots of it in ground water, and frog numbers are declining). Since we're kind of stuck on this planet, it'd be a good idea to try to make it as healthy a place to live as possible; loosening organic standards doesn't seem like an ideal step in that direction.