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Friday, June 26, 2009

Just What Does Organic Mean??

I brought in a basket of lemons from my backyard this week and told everyone they were organic. I haven’t used any fertilizers or pesticides in my backyard for many years. All I do is water the tree. So I figured it was a safe call.

But it got me to thinking about just what does ‘organic’ mean and what can be used to grow ‘organic’ fruits and vegetables or go into products labeled as ‘organic.’

So I did some research and it turns out, there is quite a bit of 'stuff' I’d never consider organic that can go into organic products.

For instance, it turns out that the 2006 agricultural appropriations bill was passed with a rider allowing 38 synthetic ingredients that could be used in organic foods. Among the ingredients are calcium hydroxide, ammonium bicarbonate, magnesium chloride and potassium acid tartrate, just to name a few. I don't know about you, but none of those sound very 'organic' to me.

On top of that it also turns out that to be “Certified Organic” only 95 percent of the ingredients in a given product need to actually be organic. It seems very odd that all those chemicals can be used and then on top of that only 95 percent of the ingredients need to be organic.

This is sort of like the fact that under the law the USDA says that chickens frozen to 26 degrees Fahrenheit can be thawed out and labeled and sold as "fresh." Figure that one out. (For any of you that flunked science freezing occurs at 32 degrees Fahrenheit).

I guess if you want real organic foods with your fresh chicken, you’ll need to grow them yourself. At least I’ve got all the organic lemons I need. Now I just need to figure out a place to put the chickens in the backyard.


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