October 12, 2006

Organic doesn't always equal good

An interesting article on the Walmartization of organics:

"But Michael Pollan, a writer for the New York Times Magazine and author of a book on organic agribusiness, notes in a June 4 article that Wal-Mart's entry into this new market will almost certainly perpetuate practices that are at odds with the original vision of organic farmers. For example, demand for organic milk has already caused agribusiness companies to apply the tactics of factory farming to organic milk production. Cows are herded into organic feedlots where they never eat grass -- just organic grain. Thus their milk satisfies federal standards for the organic label, even though it lacks essential nutritional ingredients, to say nothing of the misery caused the animals."

Food for thought, as it were. [via our friend Jul at her new blog Veggie Chic]

Posted by tallasiandude at October 12, 2006 10:51 PM

Huh, yeah. Organic don't mean nothin' at the grocery chains. Well, okay it does mean a little. But not enough to justify the expense or the trouble to even bother.
This is why I enjoy the farmer's markets around here. You get to talk to the people or employees of each ranch or farm and see how they treat their goodies. Which is where I'll be tomorrow! I'm doing a guest stint at the Fatted Calf's stall where I'll be slingin' meat all day. I can hardly wait!


Posted by: Dr. Biggles at October 13, 2006 02:53 PM

god, that is depressing to read. i knew there were other ways around the whole 'organic' label for farmers and produce, but also with animals and added cruelty on top of everything else? i guess i'll stick to organic soy milk. i'm okay with torturing soybeans.

Posted by: santos. at October 14, 2006 08:46 AM

Very depressing. I try for locally grown organic foods, but don't always succeed. Avoiding pesticides (and BGH in dairy) is critical while Teddy is so young, so I'll pay for it (dammit), but I'm very unhappy about the bullshit (not literal, dammit) involved.

Posted by: Kate at October 16, 2006 02:50 PM

as it happens, i have just started reading Michael Pollan's book The Omnivore's Dilemma, a present from C (thanks, C!) and I haven't gotten to the corporate organics section yet... but the agribusiness section already has me in a towering rage over the state of our food system in general. Argh.

Posted by: foodnerd at October 19, 2006 07:47 PM

and more specifically, the evils visited upon us by the use of corn to feed critters, and to create all manner of the incomprehensibly-named components of processed food. For a corn-fed cow from a feedlot to be classed in any way with a grass-fed animal is outrageously poor science, let alone policy.

Posted by: foodnerd at October 19, 2006 07:49 PM
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