While shopping for my groceries for the week I came across a dilemma. As always I had to make a choice to either pay for cheaper foods or pay a little extra for the “all natural” and “organic” foods. Since I try to buy healthier foods, this decision was a tough one for me because of the lack of trust that comes with these labels. Before many of my classes that I have taken and last weeks lecture. I always use to trust the organic and all natural labels. Now with everything I know I realize that most of the time people are getting scammed with these false claims of organic or all natural labels.
One of the main problems with these labels is for starters the FDA has no actual definition of all natural foods. This leaves a huge gap in information for consumers and it allows many business to fool people into thinking that what they are eating, is in fact, all natural with no processing involved. While organic foods do have a definition and standards such as, farmers are not supposed to use synthetic pesticides or herbicides (though the USDA still allows a few), no genetically modified seeds, and they must meet other standards set out by the government’s National Organic Program. There are still many ways to get around the guidelines of organic growing.
The major issue for organic foods is that there simply aren’t enough inspectors to look over the organic farmers. This allows many farmers to cheat the system and use pesticides or other non-organic substances. There are also only 140 “surprise” inspections a year which leads to many problems in the actual oversight of these organic farmers. Also the farmers are the ones paying the inspectors. Basically the farmers pay for there own policing which can lead to lenient inspectors who want to insure there jobs still exist because if they ban to many farmers from growing organic food, they will not have a client base charge for inspections.
With all this doubt it makes it really hard to trust these labels and it makes it really hard to make healthy decisions while grocery shopping. Should you spring the extra money for something that may or may not be healthier? Maybe but it would make it much nicer if more stringent standard were put in place to ensure that what you are buying is actually what it is advertised to be.