Over the years, I have counted on the organic label for quickly identifying foods worth consideration. Legible ingredient statements with only "real" foods listed have definite appeal. Not to mention, with the high cost of organic milk and cheese, a very high percentage of organic foods are dairy-free, even when their conventional counterparts are not. Thanks to the USDA, it looks like this organic trust is about to be broken.
The USDA is allowing 60 days for comments before they add 38 inorganic ingredients to organic food.
The “minor” ingredients contained in this interim final rule are non-organic, agricultural ingredients that may be considered for use in an “organic” processed product. One of these minor ingredients cannot comprise more than 5 percent of an “organic” product. Much like the U.S. work visa laws, but with food rather than employees, companies can use any of these inorganic ingredients if they state that an organic equivalent was unavailable.
The interim final rule may be accessed at the National Organic Program website www.ams.usda.gov/nop
You can make a comment on this issue by …
Mail: Robert Pooler, Agricultural Marketing Specialist, National Organic Program, USDA/AMS/TMP/NOP, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Room 4008-So., Ag Stop 0268, Washington, DC 20250.
Inorganic is the New Organic, at least with the following ingredients:
Casings from processed intestines.
Chia (Salvia hispanica)
Colors derived from these 19 extracts, juices and spices: Annatto extract, beet juice, beta-carotene derived from carrots, black currant juice, black/Purple carrot juice, blueberry juice, carrot juice, cherry juice, chokecherry-aronia juice, elderberry juice, grape juice, grape skin extract, paprika, pumpkin juice, purple potato juice, red cabbage extract, red radish extract, saffron and turmeric.
Fish oil stabilized with organic ingredients or only with ingredients
Water-extracted gums, such as Arabic, guar, locust bean and Carob bean
Insulin enriched with oligofructose
Kelp, when used as a thickener or dietary supplement
Unbleached orange shellac
Peppers (Chipotle chile)
Starches, including cornstarch, unmodified rice starch and sweet potato starch for bean thread production
Turkish bay leaves
Whey protein concentrate (yep, milk)