Mass Market Organic Is An Oxymoron

Sadly, as firms fight for a share of the eco-conscious consumer market, it seems that greenwashing is fast becoming standard practice today.
As more and more shady practices come to light, I wonder if these firms will be shunned or if their deceptions will be quickly swept under the rug? After all, it’s hard keep up, much less to know what’s what and who’s who.
aurora_non_organic.jpg
photo courtesy of The Cornucopia Institute
According to the Dallas Morning News, consumers of organic milk have cause for concern.

Some of the nation’s largest retailers and grocery chains sold milk labeled “organic” that was not truly organic, recently filed lawsuits allege.
The federal complaints focus on the sale of milk from Boulder, Colo.-based Aurora Organic Dairy, which recently agreed to change its practices after the U.S. Department of Agriculture found more than a dozen violations of organic standards.
The lawsuits allege that Costco Wholesale Corp., Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Target Corp., Safeway Inc. and Wild Oats Markets Inc. sold Aurora’s milk under their own in-house brand names.
The brands include Costco’s Kirkland and Target’s Archer Farms, and the milk was sold in cartons marked “USDA organic,” typically with pictures of pastures or other bucolic scenes, the lawsuits allege.
“That’s not even close to the reality of where this milk was coming from,” said Steve Berman, a Seattle lawyer whose firm is among those suing. “These cows are all penned in factory-confinement conditions.”

Since we can rarely trust claims made on the package, I’d suggest buying organic produce from farmers you can actually talk to—you know, the ones that gather at local farmer’s markets. It’s not easy, nor convenient, but it’s real.

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About David Burn

Native Nebraskan in the Pacific Northwest. Brand builder at Bonehook. Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. Contributor to The Content Strategist. Believer in Gossage, Bernbach and Clow. Doer of the things written about herein.

  • fortyver

    Agreed. Big Agribusiness has been working hard to dilute the organic standard anyway that they can to squeeze out huge margins from a very profitable and growing retail sector. It’s a shame that the folks who worked so hard to put together a tough, truly organic standard, and were starting to see the fruits of their labor are being rooked by folks like ADM and Wal Mart. You knew that something was up when Wal Mart said that they were going to start selling organic products. The Death Star of anti-union/sweatshop/business busting companies was in no way going to pay what the local food co-op or Whole Foods pays for organic items. Give them an inch, they will take it miles and destroy any and all trust in a truly healthy and earth friendly sector of the economy.
    Oh hell, fuck ‘em.