>It is true that the word "organic" has more than one usage.
not only that, it means everything, someone likes to put into it..
>As things now stand, organic foods are those that were produced,
>handled and sometimes processed, using methods consistent with
>the organic philosophy and tradition.
few people would doubt that. but most consumers do NOT know the
producer of his food. maybe i'm the deepest sceptical in the
whole world and all the trustful people left europe with the
mayflower, but trust is earned, but not just given away !
once you're trusted by someone, that one needs no other proof (as
long as no competor spreads wrong bads about him, which also
happens and not so rarely, and that's something even worse to deal
with, because it's like a dagger from behind).
BA> The most obvious example of Sal's preferred system --- in which
BA> can call themselves whatever they feel like --- is "natural."
here in germany it goes even to the extremes with a group of
growers, who sell their products as "naturgemaess". a rough
translation would be equivalant to "natural". now comes the
tricky part. they are sailing under the flag of "organic" (which
is also no label, but better known in the public as a GENERAL way
of producing and even more of thinking about nature), but they
use anything THEY mean it would be natural. some of these natural
products: slaugtherhouse byproducts like undigested gastric
residues, grinded chicken manure, mined potash salt and
phosphorus, arsen, copper, maggots grown on dead english horses for
fish-feeding. and all of these products may very well be claimed
"natural". (who decides, if mining is a natural method?) during
our large residue study we went to local markets and also sold
their products. we asked them about them and all you heard from
them was "all natural". they are SOO right ! 3 to 4 times a week
people call me on the phone and ask me about "organic" food.
that's what i have to tell them: there is "organic",
"biological", "bio-organic", "bio-dynamic", "natural",
"organic-dynamic", "naturgemaess".... once i've reach the 3rd or 4th
group and their different definitions, i hear a gasp and a "stop!".
>But leave the need for verifying or not verifying that to those
>involved in each and every transaction.
> The product embodies that state, and this state is something
>VERIFIABLE when this is appropriate; that is, when for the demand
>for it arises.
you know very well, that it's an impossiblity for a single
consumer, who has a strong doubt to test the efficiency of a drug
or the claim of a pesticide-free food. simply unpayable !! for a
simple test for a pesticide you pay 300$, provided you are able
to name the effective substance (if you don't, it depends on the
experience of the analytic lab to GUESS, what might be used. if
you're successful at the 6th try, that makes 1.800 $. if there
are 5 people, who have doubts, that makes 9.000$. how uneffective
for the whole society..)
>The questions Sal raised (and they're good ones) is WHO should
>bear the cost of verification and when should that cost be
>incurred. The answer is simple. (In reverse order): When
>reasonable doubt exists as to the veracity of the claims made,
>the cost being born by those that have made false claims when
>these have been proved false.
after the bse-scandal in england meat could only be sold at a
ridiculous price not even worth buying the calf. consumption went
down for half a year to 40-50% of the consuption before. not even
farmers can be convinced by you, that british farmers or the
feeding industry there could be made responsable for the damage.
and most of the cheating isn't "big-bang". most of it is done
the "smart" way: heat up the gasoline at the gasoline station,
add old leathersoles to the feed instead of proteins,
put in only 95% of the usual weight in the package, "forget" a
vitamin in the mix, used old stuff over the limit-date, selling
pse-meat, replacing a natural flavor with a synthetical one,
dyeing with roasted malt, the "wonderful" multiplication of
yields in "organic" fields... 700 eggs a year from each free-
simple example: our analysis has a tolerance of 5%, the machine
for mixing has one of 1% (due to the large amount). you can be
ABSOLUTELY sure, that the company selling feedstuff will adjust
their machine to 96%, because they know, that due to the
tolerance they can not be fined before a court. several years ago
we invented a method for measuring the hormone DES (it was known,
that it was used for years). immediately after we published the
method, DES disappeared from the market. our chemists were glad
and proud - until we heard, that feed producers switched to
hexoestrol. we found a method (chemists proud again), only to
hear, that feed producers having heard about it, switched to
dienoestrol.... for us that's more like a funny game, for the
consumer that's a real threat.
now you may ask: what has this all to do with organic procducers?
it's simple: most of the consumers live in cities and cannot have
direct contact to the farmer. so why believe them more than the
rest of the world ?
the situation is only different, if you know the farmer by person
and then it's exact the same situation as having trust in a
friend of yours.
another example, which is very comparable to certification re no
certification. beginning from next year every wine-farmer in
germany will be obliged to do a soil analysis for nitrogen
content. you may say, that's thanks to the soil lab lobby. you're
wrong. it's the consumers, who pressured the water companies and
were tired of paying higher and higher prices due to increasing
elimination costs for nitrate and the closure of wells nearby
vineyards. your system of charging the source of the
contamination won't work again. especially if brought forward by
a single person. do you think tobacco companies could have been
sued by individuals ??
>come to mean what it does precisely because there IS a difference
>in the value and results of different types of agricultural
>production systems, one founded on biological principles and
>processes, the other on easily commercialized bottles of
>chemicals that make little or no effort to account for the
>effects on the environment and human health they produce.
douglas, i worked in developing countries and you should know
better, that especially there private farmers have neither the
knowledge nor the money for individual defense. one day i went
to the agricultural supply company, and the first
thing i saw, was the lack of the plastic container on top of it
for dosing. NONE of the farmers around knew about it, they were
put away by the employees of the supply company and sold as
schnaps glasses. the farmers were sold rotten equipment, they
tried to sell usual NPK-fertilizer for a higher price, because
the same fertilizer was "exlusively" designed for the higher-prized
tobacco and not for my cabbage. a dr. fausto (a studied
farmer) even claimed, that i could not use this
fertilizer on cabbage, because "tobacco fertilizer can exclusively
be used on tobacco and would kill my vegetables". he offered me
fertilizer bags with a nice collard with vegetables on it - it was
his "tobacco" fertilizer with the tobacco collard put away. LOTS of
cheating even in countries most people believe their inhabitants
to be more familiar with each other and less "wall-street-trimmed"
and you want a number ? 3 percent of german "organic" food have
normal conventional pesticide residues. meaning 3% are lying to
consumers and also meaning 32 out of 33 organic farmers are
>I share Sal's outrage and find ample basis for his totally
>sincere and well founded analysis of the present situation. He's
>getting screwed as things stand and deserves much better
>treatment from the elected authorities who've sworn to uphold the
>public good, with liberty and justice for all. He's supporting a
>whole network of bureaucrats that add no value to the crops he
>himself produces, at his own cost. The idea that someone farther
>away from the scene is better equipped to determine whether or
>not his product is as he and his clients say it is, is an insult.
>If a reasonable doubt exists, that that doubt be raised in an
>appropriate forum, with the risk shared by both parties.
i understand sal's situation very well (please sal, believe
that's not intended towards you, as i do not know neither you nor
your situation, it's NOT intended as an insult against you, you
might be the most honest person on the whole planet.) but even he
can't garantuee, that his co-farmers have the same honesty.
one year ago a large manipulation with organic food from israel was
detected. i also bought of these fruits, BUT: who am i to blame ?
and what's the compensation for having eaten pesticide residues i
expected not to eat with these fruits?? i did not even know the
name of any grower. did they all cheat (CERTAINLY not, but do i
have to test every avocado in the lab? - once tested, it's gone!)
can i restrict future buys to certain people among them?
certainly not. so what shall i do and what's within the range of
my possibilities ? ? usually there's only one thing: avoid ALL
products from israel, and with them those from the innocent and
any better solution ?
>If periodic inspections are called for due to public health
>concerns (as they could be in any industry and for organic and
>conventional farmers alike), funding for these should be derived
>from the same tax moneys that fund any other governmental
>activity at present, without penalizing the farmers that are
>doing more than the rest to produce a healthy, nutritious product
>without damaging the environment, and doing so on the basis of
>their own effort and conviction, with no help from those now
>living off these farmers hard work: Harvesting without having
>planted, cashing in without having to take a product to market
here you have my full support and it is exactly the way, it's
done in germany and most european countries and everybody is
lucky with the system !!!! there are 6 or 7 governmental food
inspection units in germany, fully supplied and the analysts paid
by the government (meaning everyone). they do the tests and
report violations to a special task force with full investigation
rights like the police. per chance about 1 of every 1000
individual products is controlled on actually known problems. so
the price for society is quite low, the risk of detection also,
but the mere fact, that there is a control system at all, seems
to make troublemakers think twice. the fact, that fines go down
very fast as soon as the information gets around in producer
circles, that a method exists, speaks for itself...
some of the controlling agencies are no governmental ones, they
are private companies, who have a long history of trustworthy
behavior and that's all, the public needs to trust them. one case
of a detected palm greasing and they are out of business.
the organic grower pays only his membership in HIS organisations
like IFOAM, demeter or naturland.
at least now i do understand much better, what sal is critizing
!!!. here you have the choice of getting certified for an annual
fee or you may just call yourself "organic". that's so logical to
me, that at first i did not understand, that sal is being FORCED
to pay for naming his business organic. that would be the same,
as if government would give out order, that a chemical plant has
to get certified, for being allowed to name itself a "chemical"
plant. an iso-certified enviromental friendy chemical plant would
be another thing.
+-[Quote of the day, powered by k. wiegand]------+
| "The bad news is Americans are much more |
| cynical about business. The good news |
| is that Americans' expectations for honesty |
| among businesses have gone down." |
| - Roper Vice President Tom Miller |
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