Monday, May 10, 2010

Fake Organic Products

With the growing success of organics and increasing consumer interest in buying foods grown on sustainable farms without toxic chemicals, many food companies are launching new marketing campaigns full of environmental-friendly catchphrases and re-packaging products that lend the appearance of the company “going green” ,even if little or no actual change to the product has occurred.

In February, mega-food company Sara Lee launched the Eco-Grain™ label for its EarthGrains breads with a major marketing campaign that blanketed the Web, Facebook, Twitter and National Public Radio. Sara Lee billed the trademarked product as “environmentally friendly” bread that “will save the earth, one field at a time” because Eco-Grain wheat is grown with “precision agriculture.” Though actually used in small proportions in its EarthGrains brand breads, Eco-Grain is touted by the company as more sustainable than organic grain.

The trouble with calling Eco-Grain environmentally friendly is that synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, neither of which are environmentally friendly, are still used in the production of the wheat that is used to produce Eco-Grain. Also, precision agriculture isn’t exactly something new, or something exclusive to Eco-Grain farmers. In fact, more and more conventional farmers of all the major commodity crops are using precision technology in applying chemical fertilizer to their fields. In precision farming, satellite imagery is used to identify various levels of soil nutrients of a given field to determine fertilizer requirements for different areas of that field.

Also known as “variable rate technology” (VRT), this allows the farmer to pinpoint which areas of the field need more or less fertilizer, instead of blanketing the entire field with one big dose. It’s more of a cost-saving practice for farmers, not an environmentally friendly or sustainable method of production. Another point of confusion for consumers is in the term ‘natural’ which splays across the label in bold print: “Eco-Grain 100 % Natural.” How can it be 100% natural when they still use chemicals and pesticides? And there is a growing number of corporations like Sara Lee, who are seeking to profit from consumers’ interest in ecological and healthy food production. But unlike organic companies, these companies are doing practically nothing to ensure that ingredients are truly ecologically produced.

So all I have to say is; til someone stops these selfish, harmful companies from using deceiving "organinc-like" terms on their products, we should all be more careful when shopping and READ THE INGREDIENT LABELS OF ANY FOOD PRODUCTS so we won't be conned by them again.

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