Monday, December 14, 2009


Organic foods are supposed to be free from all hazardous chemicals that might gain entry into food through agricultural practices and food processing operations. There are certified agencies at national and international levels with necessary expertise and protocols to assess the claims regarding the organic nature of the foods offered in the market. How ever serious questions are being raised regarding the safety credentials of many organic foods and the malpractices in labeling.

"Greenwashing is a fully established fact. Consumers, as usual, are taking the brunt of lazy corporations who don't even understand green technology or concepts, but will use them in their marketing. Around the world, words like "natural" , "ecologically friendly" and "biodegradable" are common, and commonly incorrect. Meaningless words also mean nobody pays a lot of attention to things like required information on packaging for food. The feelgood approach to buying food is a prime marketing technique, and the mere fact of buying a few kg. of preservatives, food coloring, cellulose and sugars may not be the main area of concern. That's very relevant in marketing of foods, where not only the values of the actual content can be blurred, but consumers can remain sublimely unaware of any hazards. Greenwashing is a real end-user part of the problem, but there are still some other serious problems. Public awareness campaigners might also like to take note of the fact that there's some unfinished business in food labeling, too. Toxic products don't become less toxic because they're labeled green or anything else. The big green sales points and the small black list of toxins are a common method of obscuring dietary issues. Most people can't read food labeling, largely because of the 2 point fonts and the obscure technical language. Some common preservatives are considered toxic by everyone but the food industry. Sodium nitrite, aka 250, is a case in point. Calling that stuff green is like calling death an alternative lifestyle".

Of course some of the "green" movement organizations may be over critical regarding the intentions and practices of the industry but there is a genuine concern that all that are offered as organic foods might have severe distortions in the claims made by the manufacturers. It is wiser to be aware of such a situation when the consumer goes for buying an organic food.


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