The Slippery Slope of Organic

There’s an interesting article in the New York Times this week. It explores how some of the big organic food companies are trying to loosen the rules on what constitutes an organic product. If they are allowed to succeed, there will be devastating implications.

It makes you wonder if it’s even possible to scale up a business without negative consequences? Time and time again, we keep witnessing the power of capitalism to corrupt. These well-intentioned companies get a dose of good money, and they start looking at how they can make more. The test is then do they stay true to their principles, or do they start bending the rules in the name of profit? The irony is that I bet these companies became successful because of their initial principles.

Speaking of principles and standards…what happens when we allow the bastardization of the term “organic”? Right now, I can count on an organic product not to be pumped full of chemicals, hormones, GMOs, or other dark science. I need that. In a world where there is so much mystery and misdirection on what’s supposed to be good for me to eat, I need government-regulated terms like organic to know I am not being lied to. And I need those governing bodies to be fair and objective, and not those who could potentially gain or lose based on these regulations! We let our standards slip and organic runs the risk of being just another garbage word food marketers throw around  like “natural” and “healthy”.

Contrarily, it would actually be better to make organic more regulatory and comprehensive. Just because milk is organic, it does not mean that the cows are humanely treated. Just because a food product is organic, it does mean that was manufactured in an environmentally responsible way. We all want certainty and we all want to do good by the things we buy and eat. So what if we had an even better system for evaluating the “goodness” of our food? Something beyond organic!


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