Most people will tell you that eating organic is a healthier choice than buying processed foods. But how do you know that the food you are buying is really organic?
This has been the question on everyone’s minds as recently published studies have revealed that the ‘certified organic’ label may be little more than a glorified, green-washing scam. According to George Soros, a former organic food inspector in the U.S. and Canada, the lack of serious testing, industrial expansion and other major flaws in the organic food industry has led to corruption within the organic sector.
The main problem is that there is no international field-testing of organic crops and livestock—rather, products are only tested as end products. Mischa Popoff, an experienced organic inspector, compares this practice to “testing Olympic athletes after they go home” for performance-enhancing drugs, after the drugs have had a chance to leave the system. Therefore, wealthier farmers are able to use pesticides and inorganic fertilizers on their crops and then proudly stamp the “certified organic” label on their products.
Further, environmentalists claim that, despite off-cited arguments, organic agriculture may not be any more sustainable than industrial farming, especially when performed on a larger scale. Meanwhile, the smaller, more sustainable farms that cannot afford the organic label—which can cost up to $1500—are excluded from the privilege of a certified organic label, which can diminish their product value unfairly.
While adapting the “go organic” movement to a capitalist environment has been a key factor in the movement’s vast success, it may have led to the current corruption and exploitation of the organic label that may counter the movement’s essential values.
What does this mean for consumers? By all means continue to buy the organic foods you love, but do not trust “organic” to be a healthy, more sustainable cure-all. Be aware of where your food really comes from, and perhaps consider buying local before you buy “organic.”