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.
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.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.