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Are Organic Food Sources Trustworthy?

Who’s checking imported foods and their labels?

Last week in Moms Talk, asked an important question:

The query followed the same theme as our previous week's inquiry . It recounted Jesse Saperstein's work as an autism advocate who's taking a stand against bullying and educating about Aspergers Syndrome. By free falling from an airplane, he has made a name for himself and for those who struggle with similar disorders.

The best comment came from Los Gatos Patch reader , a parent with a child who has Aspergers Syndrome:

"Overall awareness doesn't hurt, but I'm not sure it helps much either. I think one of the keys is training those who are neither bullies nor victims... the bystanders. If the bystanders would stop standing by, and would instead band together with the victim to let the bully know his/her actions will not be tolerated, then bullying will diminish. Training the victims on how to stand up is good, but often they don't have the skills to cope effectively in those situations. Teaching an undersized disabled student to stand up to bullies only goes so far. My son has Aspergers, but luckily he's big enough that teasing was relatively rare (at 15 he's 280 lbs. and quite tall).

"The root cause of bullying is usually the unhappy family life of the bully. The best way to address that is to teach and practice the values that keep families strong."

Now onto this week's topic: Are organic food sources trustworthy?

We shop predominantly at and have relied on them as one of our primary sources for natural and healthy food choices. In making the shift for where we shopped, what we ate, and the products we used, we have been rewarded with a more enjoyable and sensory shopping experience, better tasting food and ultimately major improvements in our health. 

So when this video about Whole Foods’ questionable organics was forwarded to me, I admit, it really had me going. I was frustrated, felt "taken-in" and overcharged. Even though we periodically check labels on foods, especially ones new to us, mostly we’re pretty relaxed at Whole Foods having expected them to do most of the screening work for us. 

We went through our pantry, fridge, and freezer and though initially relieved that we only tossed one bag of frozen vegetables, I decided to get online and look further. Whole Foods’ rebuttal by Joe Dickson, organic certification coordinator is posted on their blog.

Both sides have valid points and yet leave me with still more questions. Who do we trust? How can we be assured that what is stated is "the whole truth and nothing but the truth?" Facts out of context, can distort, mislead, and be inflammatory. The media is known for that on the one hand, and the USDA, being a governmental agency is not untouched by outside influences and agendas. This isn’t about bashing Whole Foods, I love them still and continue to shop there as our primary source. But how do we keep from becoming complacent with our food buying habits? It brings me back to the importance of remaining diligent and curious, reading labels, asking questions, making our voices heard, and ultimately voting with our wallets. Where do you vote?

Tamara Archer April 03, 2012 at 07:34 PM
You hit the nail on the head; remaining diligent and informed, and taking action where necessary. Thank you for participating in the conversation.
Tamara Archer April 03, 2012 at 07:43 PM
While it's not a perfect analogy, I can see I was in a prolonged honeymoon phase and I've moved into the day to day, aware, and practical phase of the 'marriage'. I still love them, just aware of the imperfections and moving accordingly depending on the challenge...
Tamara Archer April 03, 2012 at 07:49 PM
There are days when I'm right there with you and 'it' feels so big and overwhelming ~ and I question what can I do as one person... but that's why I love this column and tapping into the network of those committed positive change and healthy options. It's one day at a time and our voices joining together. Thank you for your honesty, humor, and perspective.
Tamara Archer April 03, 2012 at 07:55 PM
You're right, it is our responsibility. As we've become a global economy, thoughts, decisions, and practices of individuals, companies, and countries can and do impact others across our planet. Solutions are rarely simple, easy, or convenient. But it is our responsibility to be informed and make the best decision we can with what we know. Thank you for your participation.
Tamara Archer April 03, 2012 at 08:07 PM
Yes, sometimes it just takes a moment to pause, to consider what is our objective and does this 'x' support or detract and what are my alternatives. Thank you for participating and voting!

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