At the Tipping Point. Is Organic Now Organic-Not?

There was a time when certified organic meant something. Is that still the case? The question is now up for debate as the USDA standards allow over 250 nonorganic substances to be applied to “certified organic” vegetables and fruits.

First a little history.

Back in the days when Whole Foods (the fledgling company) was first making its mark in Austin, we really did have purity in the organic food market, and it was done without government oversight.  As the number of small farmers grew, Texas adopted standards of its own. Under those original standards, there was no exception. You grew organically or you didn’t get or maintain your certification. JVF was one of the first to be Texas-certified in its original pear orchard, so I speak from experience (the orchard failed for lack of rain but not for lack of chemicals. Yes, we were droughty in the ‘90s too.).

There are now 250+ nonorganic substances allowed in the “certified organic” program. People are rightfully beginning to question whether organic certification means anything. How did this happen? Big Food and its favorite partner, Big Government. Once the certification process moved to D.C., the K Street boys moved with it. The Food lobby has apparently taken control of certification. All the more reason to know your farmer - there is still wholesome food to be found out there. The question is, can you find it in the supermarket?