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Here at One Green Planet, we’ve covered what organic labels really mean, and some of the scary not-so-organic ingredients that can be found in some organic foods. A new survey by the Consumer Reports National Research Center, however, shows that more than two thirds of people might be being misled by some organic foods, as they have the impression that a food labeled “organic” will have no pesticides or antibiotics whatsoever.

While it is true that organic foods, by regulation, cannot contain synthetic fertilizers, commercial pesticides, antibiotics, growth hormones, or GMOs, there are these little things called exemptions that can sneak through. As Consumer Reports explains, “the USDA maintains a list of exempted ingredients and once an ingredient gets on the list, it can be used for five years from the date of the exemption. At this week’s meeting of the National Organic Standards Board, which is made up of 15 nongovernmental experts, exemptions up for discussion include the use of the antibiotic streptomycin on apples and pears, the amino acid methionine in poultry feed, and synthetic materials for aquaculture (before standards for organic fish have even been defined).”

And, according to the recent aforementioned survey, most people would be surprised about many of current “exemptions” allowed in certified organic foods, considering that, as Consumer Reports explains, “75 percent of people said they want as few artificial ingredients as possible to be approved for use in organic foods, and 84 percent think ingredients that are exempted should be removed from the list after five years.”

And the disconnect between consumer expectations and organic reality could soon be getting worse. “Some decision makers in the National Organic Program have overtly expressed a desire to grow the exemption list in order to grow the organic market,” said Urvashi Rangan, executive director for the Consumer Reports Food Safety and Sustainability Center.

While organic remains the best option for many of us right now, we need to keep a close eye on how decision makers in this field shape the future of organic foods. If the list of allowable ingredients increases, we’ll need to take a good second look as to whether organic foods can still truly fit the bill for those trying to eat non-toxic and clean foods. In other words, Green Monsters, we’ll keep our eyes and ears open, all for the sake of what ends up in our mouths. Our health depends on it!

Image Source: Scary Non-Organic Ingredients Found in Organic Foods

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