As a member of the Park Slope Food Coop in Brooklyn New York – I pay a lot of attention to what health-conscious shoppers load into their grocery carts—these are members of a progressive food co-op whose mission is in part to make healthier safer foods affordable.
And the co-op succeeds in doing so in many ways.
But it also carries a lot of questionable items.
This is partially because of the erosion of the term organic since the turn of the twenty-first century.
Indeed – when the co-op first opened its doors in 1973 products like Annie’s Macaroni & Cheese – Stonyfield YoKids Organic Yogurt Squeezers and hundreds of other processed organic products didn’t exist.
Therefore you never would have found organic ingredient labels that listed substances like these (as they often do now): organic dextrose – organic maltodextrin – organic locust bean gum – organic guar gum – calcium phosphate – natural flavor – sodium alginate – silicon dioxide.
This is obviously not a phenomenon exclusive to the co-op; neighborhood natural food grocers – Whole Foods and even standard grocery stores all carry these items and many shoppers – lulled into a false sense of safety by the term organic or even natural on the front of packaging – are buying foods that are no better than standard packaged products.
Indeed – at the Park Slope Food Coop many people are totally convinced that they are feeding themselves and their families healthy foods.
And in many cases they’re wrong.
Their misinformed buying begins with the use of organic – which within the last decade has become a stand-in for everything that is healthy – sustainable and righteous.
Though organic once meant something significant about how food was raised – produced and processed – that moment has long passed.