I took a trip to Whole Foods Market, a reputable, very (very) upscale health food store here in my area. While I was there, I spoke to the very helpful concierge to get the working definition of "organic food" that Whole Foods uses. This is of particular interest to us because Whole Foods Market is very local to us — in fact, several of the branches are relatively close — and because we like to eat.
But first, the definition of organic from Answers.com’s quotation from the Food Lover’s Companion (the French word sans means without or not having):
organic food: In 1990, Congress passed the Federal Organic Foods Production Act, which called for national organic food guidelines including certification of growers and standards for organic food production, monitoring crops for chemical contamination and livestock for living conditions and screening organic imports. At this writing, however, this Act is still being worked on. The term "organic" typically describes food that has been cultivated and/or processed without the use of chemicals of any sort including fertilizers, insecticides, artificial coloring or flavoring and additives. In some states, however, it simply refers to the fact that crops are pesticide free and that animal feed and water are sans chemicals. [Answers.com]
According to the concierge, Whole Foods Market uses the definition from the above link. In fact, the concierge was very adamant about Whole Foods Market’s sticking with that definition no matter what — "They won’t bend":
- Whole Foods doesn’t sell anything genetically modified
- Whole Foods does NOT sell fruit or vegetables from China
Have a look at these links from wholefoods.com:
My wife and I can attest that their meats are yummy — both the organic and the natural. (Although note that natural meats apparently means meat NOT shot full of antibiotics and hormones, such as estrogen, but which can’t be clasified as organic.)
In any case, since shifting to almost entirely organic we have enjoyed better overall health.
Conventionally Grown Foods, too
The Whole Foods concierge confirmed what we already knew — that Whole Foods also sells "conventionally grown " fruits and vegetables, which means that they can contain pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and other "interesting" stuff* (you know, the stuff that kills the soil and can affect your and my health adversely). But she added that they do so because they can’t get enough organic produce. What a shame! Judging by the prices we pay for organic, I’d say there’s a lot of money could be made if more farmers grew organic food.
That said, Whole Foods clearly marks which foods are organic, free range, etc., and which are conventionally grown — so you can easily have your pick.
If one were to understand the ingredients listed and then visit a regular store to read food labels, one could obtain a fairly good idea what could possibly be affecting one’s health adversely. And don’t forget your children.
Wouldn’t it be grand if a majority of farmers in the US converted to "organic" products? When I was growing up, we used to call that regular food. And then preservatives happened; great for making food last longer on a shelf,
hell heck [::ahem:: ~Editor] on the intestinal tract. The intestines break down food; preservatives make food last longer. The two opposing activities collide and make for a problem in your body. (Digest that concept!)
I also purchased all kinds of organic vegetable seeds, not the kind that you are "one and done" (that is, they grow for one crop and that’s it) but the kind that you can obtain more seeds from. Just so I could have them. Now all we need is some property to grow them on. However, we now have a very good reason to look for some good planting land that is not messed up with chemicals and such in which to "set down roots" so to speak. We would also like fruit trees too. And grow our own food, just like the old days. When I was growing up in Washington State, we used to grow our own vegetables; we had fruit trees and used no pesticides whatsoever. There’s nothing like a ripe peach or a monster strawberry or corn picked from your own garden. And what better way to obtain tasty and nutritious fruits and vegetables free of chemicals and "bug spray"?
Wouldn’t it be grand if the all food we ate was, well, food?
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