When I read the Omnivore’s Dilemma (which ROCKS by the way) I learned allot about the industrialization of organic food. One area I particularly found interesting was the part about processed foods. An organic TV dinner must be better then a regular TV dinner right? There are no synthetic food additives in an organic TV dinner right? I mean, organic and synthetic don’t belong in the same sentence right? Wrong! In 1997 organic standards were weakened by big organic companies that wanted to make processed organic foods but found doing so without synthetics impossible. They felt that if some people wanted an organic Twinkie then they should get one by golly! In the end big organic won and the organic standards were weakened to allow for processed organics and a list of permissible synthetic additives from absorbic acid to xanthan gum were allowed in organic foods.
This was a something new for me to learn because I am not generally a buyer of processed foods. I much prefer whole foods and cooking from scratch. I guess I should have guessed when I started seeing so many organic processed foods in the store that they contained synthetic additives. But not being a big buyer of these foods I never really looked at their ingredient listings. I am going to have read those lists much more carefully now. The word “organic” is slowly losing its meaning. We need a new word to replace the ideals of the original organic movement which have now been watered down by big business. We need to raise the bar once again.