Society

Are You Truly Buying Real "Organic" Food?

| by Reason Foundation

"Purity of Federal 'Organic' Label Is Questioned," is a front page headline in today's Washington Post. Considering that the organic label is largely a marketing scheme (or perhaps it is better described as a marketing scam) designed to get consumers to pay more for products that are no better than conventional ones, it's hard for me to get worked up over the fact some farmers and processors are violating the federal program's arbitrary rules.

One might reply that violations of the federal rules constitute a fraud on consumers who expect to get one sort of product and instead are getting another. On the other hand, the whole concept of "organic" is pretty much a scientific fraud (OK, maybe it's just a wrongheaded anti-scientific fable) itself--a fact which the anxious Washington Post article inadvertantly acknowledges when it reports:

The market's expansion is fueling tension over whether the federal program should be governed by a strict interpretation of "organic" or broadened to include more products by allowing trace elements of non-organic substances. The argument is not over whether the non-organics pose a health threat, but whether they weaken the integrity of the federal organic label.

If "non-organics" pose no health threats, why do we need federal standards? Worries about the "purity" of organic foods and products represent an essentially religious stance much like kosher and halal, both of which are adequately established and monitored privately. Certification of organic products should be done the same way.

By the way, some astrologers do want professional governmental licensing.