O vs nO: Organic/not Organic.

I like organic. Or, at least I like the concept of it.

Being organic makes me feel good, like I’m part of Nature.

I especially love the words Paleo-Organic. Then I feel that I am in the same vibrational mode as the lions, tigers, bears (or what’s left of them). I immerse myself in the immensity of what it must have been like when the buffalo roamed in infinite numbers across vast stretches of pristine prairie land untouched by the hand of man, unending 4-legged stampeding multitudinous herds as far as the eye could see.

So I look forward going to the store and instantly begin hunting for the ORGANIC isle at whatever market I am at. I’m feeling good, when I find what I’m searching for, what a rush. I can’t wait to get home or back to the hotel and feast on what I just bought. I can’t wait to feel that wild and free feeling that ORGANIC is bound to make me feel, chockfull of Nutrition and brimming with vitality. I also feel virtuous because it’s so good for the environment.

I think Nutrition is important, that is why I spell it with a capital N and put bold on it. I also feel that ORGANIC is part of proper Nutrition.

The problem with all of this fantasy talk is this: it’s just a pipe dream. It is just a pipe dream because ORGANIC and PALEO are merely portmanteau labels that can be filled with nearly anything you might like. There is no rock-solid definition of these words that hold any intrinsic meaning or even get close to guaranteeing anything significantly real. It is just a gimmick, a marketing tool for true believers or people who would like to think that being healthy is just a purchase or two away. Ploys like these are what sells GREEN electric cars or low-carbon-footprint coal for your BBQ, ridiculous chimeras of ephemeral nothingnesses.

There is nothing wrong with electric cars or low-carbon-coal, it’s just that they are neither green nor low carbon. Same with ORGANIC. The real money is to be made for the vendors of dreams and I am as big a sucker as anyone else, sometime even bigger, when it comes right down to it.

ORGANIC neither tastes better, is more nutritious, nor better for the environment than conventionally grown foodstuffs. In fact, as far as the latter is concerned, it’s worse. Crop yield is less, sometimes much less than, than conventionally grown crops, thus using up more resources to grow less food…and it costs more.

Below is just a partial list of stuff that is allowed in the growing and processing of ORGANIC foods:

 Synthetic substances allowed for use in organic crop production.

In accordance with restrictions specified in this section, the following synthetic substances may be used in organic crop production: Provided, That, use of such substances do not contribute to contamination of crops, soil, or water. Substances allowed by this section, except disinfectants and sanitizers in paragraph (a) and those substances in paragraphs (c), (j), (k), and (l) of this section, may only be used when the provisions set forth in §205.206(a) through (d) prove insufficient to prevent or control the target pest. 

(a) As algicide, disinfectants, and sanitizer, including irrigation system cleaning systems. 

(1) Alcohols. 

(i) Ethanol. 

(ii) Isopropanol. 

(2) Chlorine materials—For pre-harvest use, residual chlorine levels in the water in direct crop contact or as water from cleaning irrigation systems applied to soil must not exceed the maximum residual disinfectant limit under the Safe Drinking Water Act, except that chlorine products may be used in edible sprout production according to EPA label directions.

(i) Calcium hypochlorite.

(ii) Chlorine dioxide.

(iii) Hypochlorous acid—generated from electrolyzed water.

(iv) Sodium hypochlorite.

(3) Copper sulfate—for use as an algicide in aquatic rice systems, is limited to one application per field during any 24-month period. Application rates are limited to those which do not increase baseline soil test values for copper over a timeframe agreed upon by the producer and accredited certifying agent. 

(4) Hydrogen peroxide. 

(5) Ozone gas—for use as an irrigation system cleaner only. 

(6) Peracetic acid—for use in disinfecting equipment, seed, and asexually propagated planting material. Also permitted in hydrogen peroxide formulations as allowed in §205.601(a) at concentration of no more than 6% as indicated on the pesticide product label.

(7) Soap-based algicide/demossers. 

(8) Sodium carbonate peroxyhydrate (CAS #-15630-89-4)—Federal law restricts the use of this substance in food crop production to approved food uses identified on the product label.

(b) As herbicides, weed barriers, as applicable. 

(1) Herbicides, soap-based—for use in farmstead maintenance (roadways, ditches, right of ways, building perimeters) and ornamental crops. 

(2) Mulches. 

(i) Newspaper or other recycled paper, without glossy or colored inks. 

(ii) Plastic mulch and covers (petroleum-based other than polyvinyl chloride (PVC)). 

(iii) Biodegradable biobased mulch film as defined in §205.2. Must be produced without organisms or feedstock derived from excluded methods.

(c) As compost feedstocks—Newspapers or other recycled paper, without glossy or colored inks. 

(d) As animal repellents—Soaps, ammonium—for use as a large animal repellant only, no contact with soil or edible portion of crop. 

(e) As insecticides (including acaricides or mite control). 

(1) Ammonium carbonate—for use as bait in insect traps only, no direct contact with crop or soil. 

(2) Aqueous potassium silicate (CAS #-1312-76-1)—the silica, used in the manufacture of potassium silicate, must be sourced from naturally occurring sand.

(3) Boric acid—structural pest control, no direct contact with organic food or crops. 

(4) Copper sulfate—for use as tadpole shrimp control in aquatic rice production, is limited to one application per field during any 24-month period. Application rates are limited to levels which do not increase baseline soil test values for copper over a timeframe agreed upon by the producer and accredited certifying agent. 

(5) Elemental sulfur. 

(6) Lime sulfur—including calcium polysulfide. 

(7) Oils, horticultural—narrow range oils as dormant, suffocating, and summer oils. 

(8) Soaps, insecticidal. 

(9) Sticky traps/barriers. 

(10) Sucrose octanoate esters (CAS #s—42922-74-7; 58064-47-4)—in accordance with approved labeling.

(f) As insect management. Pheromones. 

(g) As rodenticides. Vitamin D3.

(h) As slug or snail bait. Ferric phosphate (CAS # 10045-86-0).

(i) As plant disease control. 

(1) Aqueous potassium silicate (CAS #-1312-76-1)—the silica, used in the manufacture of potassium silicate, must be sourced from naturally occurring sand.

(2) Coppers, fixed—copper hydroxide, copper oxide, copper oxychloride, includes products exempted from EPA tolerance, Provided, That, copper-based materials must be used in a manner that minimizes accumulation in the soil and shall not be used as herbicides. 

(3) Copper sulfate—Substance must be used in a manner that minimizes accumulation of copper in the soil. 

(4) Hydrated lime. 

(5) Hydrogen peroxide. 

(6) Lime sulfur. 

(7) Oils, horticultural, narrow range oils as dormant, suffocating, and summer oils. 

(8) Peracetic acid—for use to control fire blight bacteria. Also permitted in hydrogen peroxide formulations as allowed in §205.601(i) at concentration of no more than 6% as indicated on the pesticide product label.

(9) Potassium bicarbonate. 

(10) Elemental sulfur. 

(j) As plant or soil amendments. 

(1) Aquatic plant extracts (other than hydrolyzed)—Extraction process is limited to the use of potassium hydroxide or sodium hydroxide; solvent amount used is limited to that amount necessary for extraction. 

(2) Elemental sulfur. 

(3) Humic acids—naturally occurring deposits, water and alkali extracts only. 

(4) Lignin sulfonate—chelating agent, dust suppressant.

(5) Magnesium oxide (CAS # 1309-48-4)—for use only to control the viscosity of a clay suspension agent for humates.

(6) Magnesium sulfate—allowed with a documented soil deficiency. 

(7) Micronutrients—not to be used as a defoliant, herbicide, or desiccant. Those made from nitrates or chlorides are not allowed. Micronutrient deficiency must be documented by soil or tissue testing or other documented and verifiable method as approved by the certifying agent.

(i) Soluble boron products.

(ii) Sulfates, carbonates, oxides, or silicates of zinc, copper, iron, manganese, molybdenum, selenium, and cobalt.

(8) Liquid fish products—can be pH adjusted with sulfuric, citric or phosphoric acid. The amount of acid used shall not exceed the minimum needed to lower the pH to 3.5. 

(9) Vitamins, B1, C, and E. 

(10) Squid byproducts—from food waste processing only. Can be pH adjusted with sulfuric, citric, or phosphoric acid. The amount of acid used shall not exceed the minimum needed to lower the pH to 3.5.

(11) Sulfurous acid (CAS # 7782-99-2) for on-farm generation of substance utilizing 99% purity elemental sulfur per paragraph (j)(2) of this section.

(k) As plant growth regulators. Ethylene gas—for regulation of pineapple flowering. 

(l) As floating agents in postharvest handling. Sodium silicate—for tree fruit and fiber processing.

(m) As synthetic inert ingredients as classified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), for use with nonsynthetic substances or synthetic substances listed in this section and used as an active pesticide ingredient in accordance with any limitations on the use of such substances. 

(1) EPA List 4—Inerts of Minimal Concern. 

(2) EPA List 3—Inerts of unknown toxicity—for use only in passive pheromone dispensers.

(n) Seed preparations. Hydrogen chloride (CAS # 7647-01-0)—for delinting cotton seed for planting.

(o) As production aids. Microcrystalline cheesewax (CAS #’s 64742-42-3, 8009-03-08, and 8002-74-2)-for use in log grown mushroom production. Must be made without either ethylene-propylene co-polymer or synthetic colours.

Still feel like buying ORGANIC, even if that were possible?

You tell me?

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