The organic issue gets more difficult even as it get more popular. Because organic is about how things are produced and not about the product itself, the rush to secure the market premium for organic food is becoming the realm of lawyers and regulators who can discuss with straight face how many organic angels can dance on the head of an organic pin.
Today's example is organic fish, which my counterpart at AgDay - host Scott Kinrade - has his shorts in a knot over. While it strikes him as absurd, he is young and not wise to the ways of the organic world, where perception is everything, and objective measurement is scorned.
At the moment, there is no federal standard for labeling fish as
"organic." While cows, pigs, chickens and all sorts of other animals can
easily meet existing standards by being fed specific types of food and not
getting any hormones or antibiotics added to them, fish are much harder to pin
down. Part of the problem lies in the fact that many fish are carnivorous and
because there are currently no organic fish, they cannot eat organic feed.
Additionally, to ensure that fish are only eating organically, which is not a
problem for herbivorous fish, they must be supervised and receive specific feed.
If fish have to be supervised to get the "organic" designation, that means that
wild fish will not qualify, which is a sticking point for those who actually
fish wild fish.
He is not the only observer puzzled by the bizarre nature of non-organic nature. Fear not - I shall counsel the young Jedi.
Where the organic definition gets truly theological is in prepared foods. How about organic salad dressing? Or organic macaroni and cheese?
Personally, I would prefer some preservatives in foods that hang around in my refrigerator for a few weeks, but those whose lives are diminished by the presence of extremely low risk materials in their food now have a choice.
I have no beef with organic buyers or producers. I also have no argument with folks who wear those magnetic bracelets to relieve pain until they tell me they are for real. Then I need to see some data - not anecdotes.
Pass the preservatives, please.