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Pet Peeve #4: Most Foods are Organic


One of my pet peeves is when food is labeled "Organic", because almost all foods are organic.

The literally definition of organic is anything from a very large class of chemical compounds made up of molecules that contain carbon. All living organisms, including plants, animals, and fungus, that people eat are fundamentally organic. There are only a very few foods that do not contain any carbon atoms, such as table salt (Sodium Chloride) and water (Dihydrogen Monoxide).


On the other hand, the definition of organic foods has nothing to do with carbon. Typically, organic foods are defined as food that were grown within certain strict standards. For instance but not limited to these restrictions: no unnatural pesticides, no artificial fertilizers, no additives, no irradiation, no waste contamination, no antibiotics, no anti-fungal agents, no growth hormones, fed healthy foods, and not genetically modified. Furthermore, any country, region, or farm can have their own definition of organic foods that can be a sub-set of the above restrictions, thus contracting the definition of organic foods from any other country, region, or farm.

Did you notice that organic foods do not imply containing carbon at all?

Therefore, in my opinion, labeling food as "organic" is misleading. At best, it is a misnomer. A better name for organic foods would be "All Natural Foods" or all natural ingredients and processing.

Unfortunately, the definition of organic foods and all natural foods is not standard everywhere either. So, it would be beneficial for food producers and sellers to definitively define both definitions for everyone.

by Phil for Humanity
on 02/24/2009

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