How the NY Times went too far…

From Tom Philpott, on Mother Jones:

“In a much-discussed feature that led the Sunday New York Times business section, Stephanie Strom reignites the long-simmering debate about whether the organic label has been essentially bought out and drained of meaning by gigantic corporations. She paraphrases Michael Potter, founder and CEO of one of the last independently owned organic companies, Eden Foods, like this: “He calls the certified-organic label a fraud and refuses to put it on Eden’s products.”

A fraud, huh? Strom’s story raises many important points that need to be thought through and debated. But it misses a key one: The organic label, for all the untoward influence of Big Food players like dairy giant Dean Foods, still means something. If you buy food labeled organic, you can be reasonably sure it was grown without synthetic pesticides or fertilizers, without genetically modified seeds, without (in the case of dairy, meat, and eggs) antibiotics and other dodgy pharmaceuticals, and on farms required to have a plan for crop rotation and (quoting straight from federal organic code) to “manage plant and animal materials to maintain or improve soil organic matter content.” (For a primer on why I find the latter bit so impressive, go here.) Even the most processed certified-organic item on the supermarket shelf contains raw plant and/or animal material that was raised in ways fundamentally different than nonorganic fare.

In other words, despite 20 years of effort by Big Food to make organic friendly to GMOs, monocrops, dodgy fertilizers like sewage sludge, and more, the organic label remains the single most accessible way for consumers to avoid supporting the worst ecological practices of industrial agriculture. And consumers should know this, and not get the idea that the organic label has been drained of all meaning. (Consumers can also seek out nearby farmers and learn directly about their practices, but not everyone has the time or resources to do that.)….”

Read more on Mother Jones.

5 Comments

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5 responses to “How the NY Times went too far…

  1. I agree that a government owned Organic certification does not instill confidence in me any more than the FDA instills confidence with me in the field of pharmaceuticals, or AMA licensing instills confidence in me of allopathic doctors, or ADA licensing instill confidence in me of dentists that poison us with mercury containing fillings.

    The last people we want to certify the safety of things is the government and the worse case scenario would be the government having a monopoly on that certification.

    I have said if before and I will say it again. We need free market completion in this field of safety certifications of products and occupations. Look at how Federal Express and UPS changed the government postal monopoly. The same could be done for all of the government regulatory agencies starting with the Organic Certification.

  2. nedlud

    What ‘organic certified’ has done, is increase dramatically the bureaucratization process and with it, increased the centralization of power and legitimized further, the abuse and misuse of that power and so-called authority, by bureaucrats and executives over the last and dying vestiges of the localized and sustainable traditional family and village farm structure. Where people matter as individuals in relationships and not just as clueless worker-drones in a factory-model assembly and production line. So what if it is ‘organic-cetified’! It is a crime!

    ‘Organic-ceritified’ has increased the tempo of our collision course with totalitarian catastrophe and planetary destruction. It has increased the lies and the manipulation which we all are being forced endure, as we head toward this destruction.

    To think otherwise, is to imagine wild animals are best kept in a zoo. Have you ever been to a zoo and looked into the lifeless eyes of a dreary zoo animal? Contrast this with the alert and, filled with awareness, eyes of any wild animal you encounter, IN THE WILD. The difference is remarkable if you yourself have any eyes.

    ‘Organic-certified’ is a travesty. [snip]

    nedlud

  3. Didn’t know where to post this but thought it important to get out:
    In Vast Effort, F.D.A. Spied on E-Mails of Its Own Scientists
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/15/us/fda-surveillance-of-scientists-spread-to-outside-critics.html?_r=1&hp

    And no one goes to jail from the FDA no matter what they do.

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