Professor A. Madsen
English VO1 A
6 November, 2012
Is Organic Food Worth the Extra Cost?
With technology reigning, it’s no wonder that in today’s world, food is being processed more quickly and efficiently to feed millions of mouths a day; however, there are also a handful of people who decide not to eat processed foods which is why in recent years, organic foods have begun to rise in popularity. Most people purchase organic foods because they believe it is healthier for them and that it pledges to be 100% pesticide and chemical free. Unlike non-organic foods, organic foods are also better for the environment. Despite these advantages, only a few people are able to afford the purchase of organic foods since the cost is twice that of non-organic foods. While organic foods have a reputation for being better than non-organic foods, consumers have many misconceptions about the term organic. As a result, many consumers have no clue that the underlying facts behind organic foods which may not be worth the extra cost.
What consumers need to understand first is the meaning of the term organic and how foods qualify as organic. Jennifer Rose, staff writer and new media manager of the Organic Trade Association (OTA), explains that organic foods are simply processed and distributed using natural agricultural methods. These natural methods include without the use of pesticides, antibiotics, synthetic nitrogen fertilizers and any type of form to genetically modify the foods (Chen 13). In order for organic foods to qualify as organic, they have to pass through US standards. The USDA, which stands for the United States Department of Agriculture, is an accredited agency that assures the products are organic so they fulfill the qualifications of the National Organic Program (Chen16). The qualifications include that the ingredients that are added to organic foods music be at least 95% organically produced. If they are 70% organically produced then they have to say “made with organic ingredients.” Anything below 70% cannot be sealed by the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture 21); however there are many problems whether or not these products are really organic. One of the common misconceptions is that most consumers believe that by purchasing organic foods, they are supporting small farm owners but that is not the case. Michael J. Potter, founder of Eden Foods, is one of the last remaining men left in the organic industry, meaning that his company is one of the last remaining independent industries along with a few others that are not affiliated with the big businesses (Strom). Some of the biggest organic industries for example, Bear Naked, Wholesome & Hearty, and Kashi are owned by the big corporations which include Coca-Cola, General Mills, Kraft, and many others (Strom). What is worse is that these corporations have complete control of these organic industries and many consumers are unaware of the ultimate power these corporations obtain. For example, Potter attended a meeting in Albuquerque to decide along with the big corporations of both organic and non-organic to decide upon which ingredients from the farm, should be allowed to be included in organic foods since some ingredients did not look fresh. Carrageen, a seaweed-derived thickener with a somewhat controversial health (Strom), was one of the main ingredients to be decided whether it should be on organic foods or not. Potter voted it down, but since most of the people in the meeting were from big corporations, they decided that Carrageen should be added to organic foods thus winning (Strom). Not only does this prove that the organic industry is corrupted but as well as demonstrating that they have no interest in keeping the integrity and value of organic foods since these companies decide to associate with the big corporations. In addition, the increase in the number of corporate board members has caused for more non organic ingredients to be...