As 'organic' goes mainstream, will standards suffer?

US - Advocates are cheered by the growing appeal of organic foods. But shoppers, confused by labels, don't always get what they think they paid for.

Buying organic milk these days - or organic apples, eggs, or beef - no longer has to mean an extra trip to a Whole Foods supermarket or the local co-op.

Organic products now line the shelves at Safeway and Costco. And Wal-Mart - already the nation's largest organic-milk seller - says it wants to sell more organic food. Large companies including Kraft, General Mills, and Kellogg own sizable organic- and natural-food brands. Now, they are developing organic versions of their own products, too.

Still, while some organic-food fans welcome its broadening appeal and availability, others worry that the entry of corporate behemoths into the organic-food market will weaken standards or squeeze out small farmers.

Meanwhile, consumers scanning the aisles face a jumble of labels and claims - cage-free, natural, free-range, organic - with little to indicate how well those claims match reality.

Source: CS Monitor
calendar icon 17 May 2006
clock icon 1 minute read
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