In Life

Organic food and products – Not all it’s cracked up to be

I’ve been asked by a number of you to continue ranting about real food and its lack of existence these days, particularly since a lot of you didn’t know some things that I said in my original wild rant: Whatever happened to eating real food and having standards?

I guess it really struck a chord with a lot of you!

ORGANIC MILK IN CANADA STILL TASTES BLAND

I have discovered Harmony Organics here in Ontario that produces organic milk in reusable glass bottles.

1-Harmony_Organic_Returnable_Glass_Milk_Bottle

 

It still tastes like creamy water to me (no flavour to speak of), and it tastes NOTHING like the first class milk I had in Portugal, Spain, and France. Swiss and German milk came up in second place for me, but it was still better than what I am drinking here.

(England had horrible milk, that country could really give Canada a run for its money in regards to producing awful milk. I think overworking the cows and not letting them rest produces awful milk.)

Harmony Organics is double the price of even the best milk in grocery stores (I found TruTaste by Lactantia to be not so horrible), which means if you pay about $6 for 3L of milk, expect to pay $12 for organic milk by Harmony Organics.

At least I can return the glass bottles and not feel bad about wasting a milk carton or milk plastic bags.

(Yes in Canada we have milk in bags, it’s one of our Canadian quirks; all Americans should come up here and give it a go and take pictures to bring back).


Back to the reusable bottle… So you pay a deposit of $2, which is significant enough to make you tote those things back to Whole Foods, Longo’s at the Air Canada Centre (ACC) or your local organic grocery store to get your money back.

(By the way, the cheapest prices for Harmony Organics that I have found so far, are at Herbs & Nutrition, which is located a couple of stores west of the intersection of Bloor & Bathurst, right by the Bathurst TTC station. I’ve checked prices at Whole Foods and Longo’s @ ACC.)

ORGANIC? MEH. SOUNDS A BIT LIKE A SCAM HERE IN CANADA

In other parts of the world, such as Europe, maybe they have stricter laws on what people can put on the labels as “organic” or “natural”, but here in Canada and in the U.S., it is not so.

I know in Germany, it is quite strict which is why I really like buying items from Germany or France, as I know they go through a more rigorous testing and certification than they do here.

(We’re greedier for money.)

CANADA’S LAWS ON “ORGANIC” LABELS

So what makes something “organic”?

  • It has to be 95% organic to be able to hold the organic certification logo.
  • Anything below 70% – 95% may put percentages like “contains 94% organic ingredients!”, but it is not certified and cannot say “organic” on the label
  • Anything with less than 70% can have organic items but don’t need certification and can’t use the “organic” logo, but whatever stuff that IS organic in there, has to be certified.
  • They have a law on the use of pesticides but they also have a disclaimer that says an organic product can’t be guaranteed to be 100% pesticide free. O_o

Source

WHAT ABOUT THE U.S. AND THEIR LAWS ON “ORGANIC” LABELS?

  • “100% organic” as a label exists, which means even pesticides used, have to be organic  (USDA seal allowed)
  • “Organic” as a label, just means it isn’t 100% organic (USDA seal allowed)
  • “Made with Organic Ingredients” means 70% of it is organic
Source

Phew.

Basically, they’re telling you that if it doesn’t hold the organic certification logo, it’s a toss-up whether it is or not, and you have to think about the product and read it carefully.

Regardless, I don’t really trust Canada or the U.S. to be diligent on any of this stuff because.. well.. have you see the way our countries are run?

A mess.

Photograph-Travel-Montreal-Quebec-Canada-Buildings-3

Old Montreal

We’re too busy fighting over translations of languages (French & English, but Quebec has been rather snotty lately with their demands) in Canada, or whether or not healthcare is a basic universal right for their citizens in the U.S. to bother about this frou-frou stuff.

Ridiculous.

We are wasting our energy, time and most of all MONEY on STUPID STUFF — not stupid in the sense that it isn’t important, but stupid in the sense that we should use common sense and close the issue to move on to more important things like why we’re slowly allowing ourselves to be poisoned from a lack of stringent food and product regulation.

We’re all just going to die with unregulated, unchecked, “government approved” ingested toxins in our body creating diseases (cancer and the like) for ourselves and our children, while fighting about whether the word “pasta” is acceptable on an Italian menu in an Italian restaurant in Quebec.

Cooking-Recipe-Food-Shrimp-Pasta

Is that really what’s important?

I make my own decisions based on what I read, and what I can taste.

Also, I am not necessarily a fan of this “organic”, “natural” or “chemical-free” kind of label on goods because it’s really just Greenwashing.

WHAT IS GREENWASHING?

It’s when companies put words like “natural” or “60% organic” on their label to make you think that it’s a better alternative to the “chemical-laden” stuff out there.

It isn’t.

Sometimes their “organic” or “natural” stuff is not really certified organic by any standards and it’s just a scam to get you to spend more money for less (or worse, toxic crap).

After having been convinced by readers on my two former blogs (FB / EM), I concede to their perfect rationality that everything in the world, even chemicals are ‘natural’, because even crude oil is “natural” and “made by nature”.

There are a lot of fake environmentally-friendly, or greenwashed brands out there like Aveda and other such “organic” products that make it to the shelf of your organic grocery store.

Store owners don’t check anything because they sell on demand, and if they did, they might have almost nothing to sell if they didn’t sell Greenwashed brands as well.

SO WHAT’S A CONSUMER TO DO?

It doesn’t give you much hope when I tell you: We’re kind of screwed... does it?

Okay, hope it is, then!

Buying organic food and reading the labels is the best thing we can do because by supporting people who want to try and change the way we eat by voting with our dollars, it means they get to stay in business and keep doing so.

It isn’t easy nor cheap. I never said it was, but there are a lot of fake brands out there, and a lot of fake organic food.

It is still better to try and eat organic food than to not. I can’t imagine what goes into non-organic food.

I still want to try and go as organic and as natural as I can even if it costs more because eating fair trade organic chocolate tastes better, knowing it wasn’t at the cost of humanity.

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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

Millionaire at 36 after getting out of $60K of student debt in 18 months, a little over a decade earlier, using TheBudgetingTool.com. Since then, I have paid my $600K home in cash (my half was $300K), my $180K casr in cash, worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K with an average lifetime savings rate of 50%. I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I am all about balance - between time and money, and also enjoying my money. I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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3 Comments

  1. Corianne

    I can imagine the language squabbles… I live in Belgium… snotty Walloon French-speakers vs. snotty Flemish Dutch-speakers. I picked up the phone a week ago at work and we always answer in English. This woman asks for Company Z while we are Company A and immediately starts launching into a rant why I don’t speak French, and how it’s a Belgian number and I don’t speak French! I replied in English that she had the wrong company (had to repeat it 3 times or so… she was so busy complaining I didn’t speak French).

    I know some people are sticklers for Organic food… I’m honestly not going out of my way to buy ‘green’/’organic’/’whatever’-labeled stuff. Half of it is marketing shit anyway… I buy some labeled products, but in those cases I know what the labels mean (labels for meat indicating quality of life for example) and that THEY ARE REAL LABELS.

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      HAH! Yes well. 🙂 This happens a lot. Actually, when I go somewhere and I start in English, if I feel like they’re stronger in French, I switch to French. Gives me a chance to practice.. but if they are able to speak in English natively, why bother? 😛

      I am a part stickler for organic, but it really doesn’t taste very different here from regular food, which is what irks us.

      Reply
  2. Ramona

    I remember how we used to eat 20 years ago and how the food tastes bland now. Here, in Romania, we still have tomatoes that taste like tomatoes and great fruits, but we’re invaded by a lot of imported crap that tastes like cardboard. What we do personally is try to get our food sources from local producers (as much as possible, of course) and cook healthy meals from scratch. It’s not perfect, but it’s better than a lot of pre-made meals that are full of god knows what weird stuff 😀

    Reply

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