Who can you trust? Many products that are designed to appeal to the health consious should be avoided.
There are some great companies out there that are trying to make a positive impact on this world by producing healthy, beneficial, environmentally friendly products. There are companies that obviously put profits above our health and our environment. And then there are companies that pretend to care about consumer health and the environment only because they are able to profit by doing so. This is a form of greenwashing called organicwashing.
Organicwashing: a form of greenwashing where companies market a product in a manner that is meant to convince consumers that the product is produced with people’s health and animal welfare in mind, while secretly not giving a damn about anything but profit. Yeah, we made that up. If you are new to organic foods, trying to eat healthier and trying to reduce your environmental impact, it can be overwhelming to find out that the eggs you have been eating and the milk you drink are no better than conventional products you were purchasing before. It’s often enough to make well intentioned consumers throw their arms up and walk away from the more expensive organic products for good. Not only are we going to list for you companies to avoid when purchasing healthier foods, but we will also give you a list companies that are doing a good job of staying green. Surprisingly, some of them are owned by the least environmentally friendly companies. You can be the judge as to whether or not to purchase their products. We will also list a few of the better options to choose from, like companies that are not owned by big bad businesses, green companies that do everything they can to adhere to their original standards. In our comment section below, feel free to add to the list and help this page be a resource to identify the good companies and the organic washers. Not all of these companies are labeled organic, but they are all appealing to the health minded consumer.
Horizon Foods: Milk, Cheese, and Eggs
Horizon is the largest producer of organic milk and organic eggs in the world. They are owned by Dean Foods, the largest conventional dairy company in the world. Dean Foods does not care about organic standards. Actually, that’s not entirely true. Dean food cares a great deal about reducing organic standards. Horizon is often in trouble for bending and violating organic rules and regulations. Dean Foods lobbies to reduce organic standards. And their eggs and milk actually tastes no better than conventional eggs and milk, because they are not much better. For milk, try not drinking it! Consider this: milk is produced by impregnating a cow (or a sheep, or a goat) and then taking away the infant, putting it on formula, and milking the mother. We are ripping apart a mother-infant bond. If you think for a second that the cows don’t know any better, you need to go to a farm and watch it happen. It’s heart-wrenching. There are many other options available. Soy milk is not one we recommend, but there is almond milk, rice milk, hemp milk, coconut milk, and more! The taste is acquired, but believe it or not, cow’s milk is an acquired taste, too.
Silk Soy Milk
Owned by Dean Foods again. The soy beans are genetically modified. And soy milk IS NOT GOOD FOR YOU ANYWAY!
Owned by General Mills, Cascadian Farms, whose principle investors include: Alcoa, Chevron, Disney, Dupont, ExxonMobil, General Electric, McDonalds, Monsanto, Nike, Pepsico, Pfizer, Philip Morris, Starbucks, Target, and Texas Instruments. Every one of those companies has atrocious human rights and environmental issues. 100% of the brand’s cereal and granola products are certified organic, and yet the corporate owners include the nation’s largest agribusinesses involved in GMO/ chemical agriculture. So while Cascadian Farms has done a good job of staying organic, even after they were bought out by this evil company, supporting Cascadian Farms is supporting the worst of the worst companies and everything Cascadian Farms used to stand against. Plus, most grains and the sugar they sell their grains with, really aren’t good for you anyway.
Again, most grains are not good for you. And Kashi is grains and sugar too. They are also owned by Kellogg (who also owns Bear Naked). Kashi makes promises of “all natural” and/or “nothing artificial” on the front labels of most of its products. This lead to the August 2011 class action lawsuit filed against the company by Michael Bates. Processed and synthetic ingredients are in most of their products. The lawsuit indicates that a number of these artificial ingredients are listed as “prescription drugs, irradiated substances, pesticides that are a by-product of uranium mining and federally declared hazardous substances.” Kashi also stated that some of its foods “may contain GMOs.” And they followed with, “Many factors outside our control, such as pollen drift from nearby crops and current practices in agricultural storage, handling, and shipping, have led to an environment in North America where GMOs are not sufficiently controlled.”
Hain Celestial Group
Heinz Co. owns nearly 20% of Hain. And Hain owns Garden of Eatin’, Health Valley, WestSoy, Earth’s Best, Hain Pure Foods, Spectrum Naturals, Walnut Acres Organic, Imagine Foods, Rice Dream, Soy Dream, Ethnic Gourmet, Yves Veggie Cuisine, JASON, Avalon Organics, and Alba Walnut Acres, Westbrae, Imagine, Arrowhead Mills, Breadshop’s, Casbah, The Good Dog,The Good Slice, DeBoles, Lima, Biomarche, Grains Noirs, Earth’s Best, and Nile Spice. The Company is a leader in 13 of the top 15 natural food categories. The Cornucopia Institute put together an Organic Soy Scorecard that reveals which soy product companies are truly trustworthy versus those that are not. Cornucopia took into account thesourcing of soybeans, use of toxic chemicals for soy protein extraction, and the use or avoidance of genetically modified soybeans. Westsoy and SoyDream (both owned by Hain Celestial Group) – Refused to share their sourcing information. Hain Celestial Group routinely uses yeast extract in its foods (a form of hidden MSG). Their personal care products (Avalon Organics, and Alba) contain a wide variety of toxic ingredients as well.
Why is trader Joe’s so popular among the green and health conscious? To their credit, when their consumers have spoken out, Trader Joe’s responded with the proper policy changes: they now carry cage-free eggs and GMO-free foods. And they did recently agree to revamp their seafood policies, after a lengthy campaign by Greenpeace to get red-list fish out of its stores. But why did they have to be pressured to do this? And their produce and other foods tend to come in plastic packaging. You can’t buy a fruit or vegetables without buying them being wrapped in SaranWrap, and typically wrapped on a Styrofoam tray.
Stonyfield is owned by Dannon. YoKids Squeezers conatian carrageenan. Carrageenan is a water-soluble polymer, also known as a gum, which is used as a fat substitute in processed meats and can be found in condensed milk and some soy milk products. Stonyfield assures us that the FDA says it is safe. And we all trust the FDA. No, kidding, the FDA cannot be trusted anymore than Monsanto. And carrageenan may cause stomach lesions or cancer. There have also been issues about Stonyfield refusing to pay fair prices for milk. And at 99 cents a yogurt, it’s no surprise.
Odwalla and Naked Juices
Pepsi owns Naked. Odwalla is owned by the Coca-Cola Bottling Company. We can thank Odwalla for the laws that require juice to be pasteurized. Before they were acquired by Coca-Cola they selling unpasteurized juice. But they were juicing rotten fruits and vegetables with filthy equipment. People got sick. Wikiepedian states, “A period of decline occurred as a result of a fatal outbreak of H7 in 1996 that was caused by using bruised fruit that had been contaminated. Following the E. coli outbreak, Odwalla adopted flash pasteurization and other sanitization procedures.”
Organic Companies You Can Trust
Eden Foods is an amazing company. And while they are pretty substantial in size, the people running this company care a great deal about producing healthy, beneficial products for their consumers. The best egg producer we know of is Vital Farms. They really do care about the welfare of their eggs. “There are many elements we consider vital to our methods: organic green pastures, multiple native grasses, herbs, seeds, and other natural foliage, top quality organic feed, plenty of fresh water, relatively small flock sizes, lots of space to roam and forage, protection for the birds, shelter from inclement weather, and a personal attentiveness to the birds’ welfare!” And their eggs taste incredible! Organic Valley is a pretty good company for eggs and milk. They have been in some trouble, but they do take measures to abide by organic standards, and they aren’t looking to greenwash consumers. But they, along with Whole Foods, and Stonyfield, recently decided it’s time to surrender to Monsanto. Top executives from these companies have publicly admitted that they no longer oppose the mass commercialization of GE crops, such as Monsanto’s controversial Roundup Ready alfalfa, and are prepared to sit down and cut a deal for “coexistence” with Monsanto and USDA biotech cheerleader Tom Vilsack. Read more at The Organic Elite Surrenders to Monsanto: What Now?
According to many farmers, it has become difficult, even prohibitive, for many small farmers to become certified organic.
And there’s more! Watch this video:
The truth is, organic standards mean very little at this point. And a product labeled as organic is likely to not adhere to these almost meaningless standards anyway. But even if the product does meet the qualifications, the standards leave so much room for manipulating the system. And with the big companies wanting to get in on the organic scene, it is only getting worse and worse. The easiest thing you can do to avoid organicwashing is to avoid buying from big companies! If you see a banana labeled organic sold by Chiquita, don’t buy it! Buy from smaller companies that got into the organic business to make a difference.