“Organic” : Inorganic Buzzword

The way that we eat has changed drastically over the last fifty years. More hyper-processed junk food is being consumed than foods that are either labeled, or considered to be, organic. Luckily, there has been enough campaigning to thrust this matter into the public sphere, which is starting to steadily improve each year.

On the other hand, one of the more micro, yet vital, problems that get overlooked is the usage of the word, “organic.” What began as a word that was originally defined as “carbon based,” is now commonly utilized without even mentioning carbon in its description. In the food industry, the word has been exploited to death as a marketing tool for big-name food companies to promote that they’re changing their production methods. This, however, does not mean that they’re truly living up to the standards that befit the word.

Last month, Wal-Mart announced that they were partnering with the natural foods company, Wild Oats, to expand their organic food supply. Additionally, they also added that prices for these foods would be cut so more people can afford to buy them. Wal-Mart is known for maintaining low prices on almost all of their products, however this deal poses several problems as a whole for organic food industry.

Although Wal-Mart has consistently risen as one of the most commercially successful organic food sellers, their proposed lower prices for these foods is troubling. When a company increases production and lowers the cost of certain products, that’s a sign of corporate greed taking control.

This leads to cheaper production of goods, and typically dip in quality due to a lack of sustained growing methods. In this case, the worth of Wal-Mart placing the word “organic” on their organic food supply will potentially raise more suspicious questions than answer them. They can use the term all they want for marketing, but that doesn’t mean it will ring completely true for the product itself.

In addition, not every common Wal-Mart customer is going to flock towards this deal. People have different food appetites, so even if some of them catch notice of foods that are organic, not all of them are going to buy in. This is where the abuse of the buzzword backfires, as it won’t change the way everyone eats. Only the person themselves can decide whether or not they want to eat organically. Therefore the presence of the word isn’t going to get as much credit in making that transition happen.

The real issue though that needs to be considered with using the word “organic” is in relation to food labeling. Similar to how thousands of people are still begging the government to label foods that contain GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms), the same needs to be applied more to foods in the case that they actually apply to organic standards or not.

We, along with millions of other people, deserve to know this information because it can ultimately influence the validity of a company that excessively uses the word to promote various products that supposedly carry the label.

For a college student, this is a matter that is much more important than most would believe it to be. Eating healthier will bode well in avoiding reliance on junk to combat bouts of stress, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be done one hundred percent organically. At this point in time, there have been enough advocacies communicated through food documentaries and activist groups, so the push towards Americans eating better has been stated enough times already. What truly needs to be looked at though, is that buzzwords like “organic” are hurting the situation more than they’re actually helping it.


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