Photo: By sleepyneko on Flickr
If you don’t look at the labels on your food closely, you might not be getting what you think you are, reports Treehugger.In a new report, “Cereal Crimes,” from the Cornucopia Institute, there’s a troubling trend of cereal producers attempting to play on the organic craze, misleading consumers into believing their products fit organic standards.
Many brands add “natural” labels — very similar to the ones put on organic products — to signify they meet government-set organic standards.
But in fact, the threshold for “natural” products is very low: they can contain the pesticides and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) that organic farming specifically forbids. According to the report, 61% of people believe “natural” products to be GMO-free.
Additionally, brands that were once known for organic production are scaling back those efforts without really telling consumers. For example, Peace Cereal (which in 2007 had 100% organic content) now has none at all. Similarly, Barbara’s Bakery has downgraded from 60% organic in 2007 to just 20% now, while the organic content for Annie’s Homegrown brand dropped from 100% four years ago to 20% today.
So what are these brands getting away with? They’re able to charge more with a “natural” label slapped on products, while cutting production costs, the report says. Is that still good business if they’re fooling consumers who are looking for certified organic products?
The Cornucopia Institute filed a complaint earlier this year with the Federal Trade Commission against Peace Cereal, claiming that it’s misleading consumers. Under similar pretense, an environmental group in June filed suit against 26 cosmetics companies over alleged mislabeling of non-organic ingredients.
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