An article was recently published by Elaine Watson on FoodNavigator-USA.com titled “The organic food industry has been engaged in a ‘multi-decade public disinformation campaign,’ claims report.” Watson discusses the ongoing debate on what the label “organic” actually means on food products. Consumers spend more money on food labeled “organic” by the USDA because they believe it’s healthier and safer than the conventional counterparts; this, however, is not always the case. Despite the multiple reports on false and misperceived labels, people still buy the seemingly organic products. “Research found extensive evidence that widespread, collaborative, and pervasive industry marketing activities are a primary cause of these misperceptions. This suggests a widespread organic and natural products industry pattern of research-informed and intentionally-deceptive marketing and paid advocacy” (Watson).
Watson also talks about the difference between “natural” and “organic.” Most consumers believe these mean the same thing, but according to Katherine Paul, they are quite different. If a product is labeled “natural,” it does not necessarily provide nutritional benefits as a real organic product primarily does. People need to be aware of this so that they stop spending so much money on products that aren’t what they think they are. Also, companies need to stop falsely advertising on their labels because consumers think they are eating healthier than they actually are. Although organic products are environmentally friendly produced, they are not always as good as they appear. The USDA should only allow a product to be labeled “organic” if it was produced humanely and if it is somewhat nutritional. A product should be labeled “natural” when it is made from natural ingredients, but consumers should be aware that it is not necessarily healthy. The main thing is just to be smart about shopping. Labels are not always as they appear so shoppers should do research on products they are skeptical about. Ideally the USDA would fix the false advertising, but that is probably not going to happen, so just be smart when you shop!