12 October 2007

organic high fructose corn syrup

my CSA newsletter features a story about a farm passing off non-organic fude as organic, knowingly and purposefully breaking federal law. most interesting is the promotion of a strong sense of self-regulation in the industry.
Federal control at first seems to explain why most consumers respond with complete submission to a word alone, as if in a voluntary trance. The explanation, some may offer, is simple: convenience. Its easier to let someone else take care of life's challenges for us. And the government is paid to do just such job, solve life's problems for us. So if the government says its organic, it means good, wholesome and free of pesticides and chemicals, among other things. In an ideal world that would have been the case, but real life is more complex than we would like it to be. In real life, even if the government says its ok, organic too has to be watched independently.
the author is reacting to a rogue outfit that has decided to pay fines while selling inorganic fude fraudulently. the funny thing is that it's all within the letter of the law. in accordance with my own idea that regulation should itself be decentralized, i cotton to the guy's insistence that it's up to us to keep regulation meaningful rather than as a box-checking exercise for bureaucrats.
And common sense, never a bad thing, is what should keep organics from abuses such as in the cases mentioned above. Indeed, local, safe, responsible, honest, all these plus newer and newer terms will be naturally added to organics as the necessity arises. The duality of "us and them" is probably unavoidable in an absolute way in this world. And so in the field of organics too there will always be the us and them. But the organic people will always know what they are about and what the concept means, and they will never accept a falsified version of the ideal. So organics remains safe.
while big corn and big organic join the handout orgy that is US agricultural policy, maybe we can try to be more mindful of our day-to-day choices and refuse to be spoon fed organic high fructose corn syrup.

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