Organic Food May Contain Non-Organic Ingredients

January 21, 2010 at 1:12 am 1 comment

Back in 5th grade, my school had cupcake sales. There were thousands of cupcakes. I don’t remember what we were raising money for, but I ate a lot of cupcakes and that was memorable.

Baking all of these cupcakes was a lot of painstaking work, but my mom was a really hard worker. She always made chocolate cheesecake cupcakes, which the parents and teachers ate up, literally.

They weren’t covered in icing sugar, they didn’t have multicolored sprinkles or glitter and that’s exactly what the kids looked for: sugar. If you’re punny, you might say the kids had more refined palettes.

Some of my favorite cupcakes were the ones decorated with those tiny silver balls. It turns out the FDA now considers them inedible, due to the small amount of metal in them. Now, they’re sold “for decoration only,” except in California where they’ve been banned since 2003.

They were considered edible back then, but that still doesn’t mean they were food. I ate LEGO a couple times back then too. Again, not food.

Real food isn’t made in a laboratory, although laboratories do produce some really tasty stuff. In an earlier post, I talked about the differences between natural sugar and synthetic sugar made from corn (high fructose corn syrup).

Experts believe that your body can’t control its absorption into your bloodstream, in an attempt to control your blood sugar, your body quickly converts it into fat, which happens much slower with natural sugar. This could be extremely dangerous, and its addition to thousands of foods over the past 35 years could be partially responsible for the obesity epidemic.

Last month, a research paper was published, focusing on one genetically modified type of corn. This study shows that pesticide residue was still evident on this type of corn and it causes organ failure in rats. Genetically modified food has a bad reputation and it isn’t always bad, there are many success stories and it occurs in nature too (not just laboratories). But, this study shows a clear example of genetically modified food at its worst.

Because of these dangers, there are a lot of people who try to eat natural foods whenever possible. Food labeled “organic”  is one way to identify real food. Many food products contain a lot of synthetic ingredients, growth hormones, pesticides and antibiotics. On the other hand, Organic foods generally do not contain any of these.

At least, that’s what I thought. I don’t buy a lot of organic food, but when I do buy a product stamped with the “USDA Organic” logo, I assume that it’s entirely organic. The truth is, the USDA actually has a list (PDF) of non-organic ingredients that are allowed in products that carry the “organic” label.

Here is a very small sample of some non-organic ingredients and some uses for them:

  1. Fish Oils (dairy, egg, sauces, jam, jelly, snack foods)
  2. Gelatin (yogurt, production of tea and wine, thickening agent)
  3. Orange Shellac (glazing or polishing organic fruits and vegetables)
  4. Enriched Inulin (baking, nutritional bars, yogurt, cereal)
  5. Whey Protein Concentrate (yogurt, protein supplements, baby food)
  6. Carnauba Wax and Wood resin (chewing gum, candy coatings, juice, cosmetics)

The USDA has approved these ingredients (and many others) because the organic food producers that rely on them have filed petitions asking for approval. The petitions usually cite a non-existent or inadequate supply of that ingredient in organic form. In other words, organic food contains 100% organic ingredients when those ingredients are available as organic products.

Written By: Chad Upton

Broken Secrets

[Available on Kindle]

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Images: USDA,

Sources: The Daily Green, Dragee, International Journal of Biological Sciences, USDA Food List, HFCS

Entry filed under: Around The House, Be Green, Demystified, Food and Drink. Tags: , , , , , , , , .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Why Do People Eat Organic Food? « Broken Secrets  |  February 1, 2010 at 12:12 am

    […] be better because of it. I have an entire entry about non-organic ingredients in organic products here if you’d like to read […]

    Reply

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