Did you know that Boca is owned by Kraft? That Naked Juice is completely controlled by Pepsi? That General Mills runs Cascadian Farm and Muir Glen?
This fascinating chart (to view it click the source link below) by Phil Howard, an assistant professor of Community, Agriculture, and Recreation and Resource studies at Michigan State University, will show you where your money really goes when you buy that name-brand “organic” snack — and you can bet that if it’s made by Kraft, it’s probably not coming from a small family farm, either.
But there is a downside, and a major one at that. When big corporations dip their hands into a project, they are looking to maximize their profits by turning out the largest amount of product for the least expense. If this means sacrificing some ethics and skimping on some quality, that is often exactly what is done.
As a result, you now have to be very wary when you see the term “organic,” as it doesn’t always mean that the food is any better for you or the environment. For example:
* Horizon Organic, the company that supplies Wal-Mart, has continually ignored federal organic standards — specifically, a cow’s access to pasture.
* The organic label is now being put on salmon, despite the fact that there is not much difference between conventional farm-raised salmon and its organic counterpart.
* You can buy organic versions of ice cream, potato chips, crackers, soda and just about everything, but these foods are STILL not good for you.
* At least one study has found that the transportation of organic produce causes an environmental impact large enough to cancel out any environmental benefits.
There’s Something Even Better Than Organic
It’s sad to say but the organic label has become virtually meaningless as a sign of quality. In seeking out food that is truly grown the way nature intended, you are therefore far better off seeking local producers.
These are the people who are truly still running small farms, where you can find grass-fed beef that is truly grass-fed (and not finished on grains in the last months) and produce that is truly fresh, not just coated in wax to make it appear that way.
Depending on where you live, finding a local farmer or food coop may seem unrealistic, but just as demand drove the rise of organic, it is driving the demand for locally grown foods. You can peruse this list of sustainable agriculture options to find like-minded people in your area who will know how you can connect with local food producers. Also be sure to take advantage of farmer’s markets and roadside stands as the summer approaches.
As Phil Howard’s chart has revealed, you just never know who is behind even your “healthy” food choices, that is, unless you meet them face-to-face. So if you’re concerned about where your food is coming from, avoid the processed organic junk foods at your supermarket, and instead support the farmers that are still producing real health food. Dr. Joseph Mercola