Organic Certified Loses Purity


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

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.
Celery powder
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.
Dillweed oil
Fish oil stabilized with organic ingredients or only with ingredients
Frozen Galangal
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
Konjac flour
Frozen lemongrass
Unbleached orange shellac
High-methoxy pectin
Peppers (Chipotle chile)
Starches, including cornstarch, unmodified rice starch and sweet potato starch for bean thread production
Turkish bay leaves
Wakame seaweed
Whey protein concentrate (yep, milk)

About Author

Alisa is the founder of, Food Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living, and the new cookbook, Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.

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