I went shopping at Food Lion earlier this week, entirely by accident.
On the return drive from my chiropractor’s appointment, I happened to remember I was almost out of ‘natural spring water’. (If you’ve ever had the water that is coming out of your tap tested, you wouldn’t ever drink it again, either.) If you want to get your tap water tested it’s way easy. I use Dairy One.
No one in my home with a pulse drinks tap water, including pets.
Hence the visit this week to Food Lion: to stock up on water.
It was a new experience in more ways than one.
First, the location. I was a good hour from home. Although I had been in “Food Lion” before, it wasn’t ‘this one’.
Second, there were Organics at ‘this one’, out the ying-yang.
…and I was about out of food, too.
I went shopping. (Thanks, Visa. You rock)
There were lots and lots of ‘9”s!!! Lots of organic produce! All of the organic produce was also safely wrapped in it’s own shelter, protecting it from the pesticide ridden produce. No chance of cross contamination, where the end-user shops. Awesome.
I filled my shopping cart with Organic fruits like bananas and tomatoes, and veggies too.
Right there at Food Lion.
Then I rolled my cart right over to the Organic Foods and Ingredients Isle, and I made some observations I most definitely need to share with you.
Most importantly, not all of the items in this organic isle are organic. They just call themselves organic. It’s not illegal either, how they did it. Just downright uncalled for, and should be illegal IMO. Misleading indeed.
Companies have the name ‘organic’ in their company name. But their product is not certified organic, nor could it ever be. It’s not organic by any stretch of the imagination. Watch for that.
Be suspicious when you go through the organic isle. You will find many Organic Choices absolutely; you will find many what I will call ‘fakes’.
Organics can be certified by various domestic certification agencies. There’s currently 56 in the United States accredited by the USDA, including Organic Crop Improvement Association, CCOF, and Quality Assurance International (QAI). There are also 41 accredited foreign agencies that offer organic certification services.
So the certification(s) you see might differ. You want that certification regardless – if not certified, it’s not organic. No matter what the company ‘name’ is. “XYZ Organic Inc.” may well not be organic. Look past the ‘name’ when you are making your choices.
In the United States, federal organic legislation defines three levels of organics.
Products made entirely with certified organic ingredients and methods can be labelled “100% organic”.
Products with 95% organic ingredients can use the word “organic”.
Both may also display the USDA organic seal.
USDA Organic seal means the product is at least 95% organic.
A third category, containing a minimum of 70% organic ingredients, can be labelled “made with organic ingredients”.
In addition, products may also display the logo of the certification body that approved them.
Look for the name and address of the Government-approved certifier on all packaged products that contain at least 70 percent organic ingredients.
Products made with less than 70% organic ingredients can not advertise this information to consumers and can only mention this fact in the product’s ingredient statement.
People who sell or label a product “organic” when they know it does not meet USDA standards can be fined up to $11,000 for each violation.
Similar percentages and labels apply in the EU.
Certification is essentially aimed at regulating and facilitating the sale of organic products to consumers. Individual certification bodies have their own service marks, which act as branding to consumers.
Natural and organic are not interchangeable.
Other truthful claims, such as free-range, hormone-free, and natural, can still appear on food labels. However, don’t confuse these terms with Organic.
Look for the word “organic” and a small sticker version of the USDA Organic seal on vegetables and pieces of fruit. They may appear on the sign above the organic produce display. You already know to look for the number 9 at the beginning of the five digit code.
The word “organic” and the seal may also appear on packages of meat, cartons of milk or eggs, cheese, and other single-ingredient foods.
Foods with more than one ingredient
The following photo shows examples of the labels that may be used on a wide variety of products that use organic ingredients.
Follow this link for larger image of cereal boxes.
The sample cereal boxes show the four labeling categories:
Beginning from left:
1. cereal with 100 percent organic ingredients
2. cereal with 95-100 percent organic ingredients
3. cereal made with at least 70 percent organic ingredients
4. cereal with less than 70 percent organic ingredients
Products with less than 70 percent organic ingredients may list specific organically produced ingredients on the side panel of the package, but may not make any organic claims on the front of the package.
Again, look for that name and address of the Government-approved certifier on all packaged products that contain at least 70 percent organic ingredients.
The fridge, freezer and cabinets at home are now stocked. Besides the fruits and veggies, I found canned organic soups, organic (and also labeled as genetically modified free!) heat and serve meals, rice milk, pasta, sauces, spices, juice, cookies and other must-have snacks. You-name-it.
And of course, water :)
I’m not an easy one to sell to, either. I want ORGANIC. I do not care about your fancy names or packaging. I will rape your labels. I will call your company, right there from the store. Receptionists know my name. At the very least, my voice. I’m nice when I call them. I just want information. You get more bees with honey, they say.
If you call, make them want to talk to you, to tell you what they know. If you do not behave yourself when talking to The Receptionist, do not be surprised if your visit via phone is not fruitful.
You will soon find that your food shopping field trips become a whole brand new experience, when you are talking to the people who make your food, right from the grocery store, standing in front of ‘their food’.
It is from this accidental shopping field trip for water to Food Lion that I obtained
The Organic Tomato.
Folks, it’s a whole new eating experience, an orgasm for the taste buds.
The Organic Tomato.
Once home, I heated one of my newly purchased Organic heat-and-serve meals in the microwave for four minutes. Delicious on it’s own, I decided to dress it up a bit. I added some salt and pepper, then sliced some of The Organic Tomato into bits and added that as well.
Having half of The Organic Tomato left not yet sliced, I broke out a sandwich bag to secure my new treasure in the fridge. We never made it that far.
Hungry and eyeing my newly dressed heat-and-serve meal, I had a taste.
Oh. My. Gosh.
Fork down, I picked up that remaining half of Treasure that had been destined for the fridge, and bit into it while hovering over the sink.
The Taste-Bud-Orgasm experience had arrived.
The skin of the tomato… it’s not tough and hard to chew. It’s delicate, like it belongs there, a compliment to the fruit. The tomato is sweet, not tart, with that acid taste.
There is a pureness to the taste, you want – you crave – to devour the fruit on it’s own, all by itself, instead of as purely an ingredient to a meal.
You want to eat it like you would an apple.
The Organic Tomato deserves it.
I’ve no warm, fuzzy feelings on these corporations making every effort to remove this experience for my taste buds. You DON’T rock.
If we want them to go away, stop contaminating our food sources, we need to not buy what they sell.
The farmers, not buy their seed. The consumers, don’t buy the end product.
Unfortunately, time is running out. We will eventually not be able to make a choice, if we do not begin by making it now.
Mendocino County, California was the first to *BAN* Genetically Modified Plants. http://www.gmofreemendo.com/moreh.html you ROCK.
One of the first organizations to carry out organic certification in North America was the California Certified Organic Farmers, founded in 1973.
It is because of these and other organic sources and protectors that we can still enjoy the health benefits and deliciousness of The Organic Tomato.
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