Mass-Produced Organic – Questions of Faith

Jack sent me a link about the following product releases: Kelloggs and Keebler (Kelloggs owns Keebler, for those of you who need a scorecard to follow along) recently released a new line of organic products for some of their better selling wares.

And thus, here is the picture that illustrates the thousand words of contradictions that must be going on in the minds of organic advocates everywhere.

There are some out there who will question the motivations of the Kelloggs company. Here are several products, some of which are deeply ensconced in pop culture, who are now entering the realm of organics – a food production philosophy which, until recently, has been strictly a counter-culture approach.

This is the same reason why Wal-Marts organic announcement raised so many eyebrows. Can an institution effectively implement processes and philosphies that were initially designed to combat these institutions? Can they implement them without compromising and/or altering the initial ideals that the organic movement was founded?

If, in looking at the box of Organic Rice Krispies, your mind said something along the lines of “Oh sweet Jesus, this looks ridiculous’ or ‘Muh- WHA? Kelloggs Organics?’, then it’s likely that there’s an initial and cynical doubt in both the practices and motivations of the Kelloggs and Wal-Marts of the world.

But my question is this – If the organic standards are not diluted, should the motivations of any of the institutions using the “organic” label be questioned? If McDonalds started selling “Organic Big Macs’, should we roll our eyes at McDonalds for missing the point or welcome them for being responsible capitalists?

Personally, I’m a littled jaded at these larger companies to trust them completely. The bottom line for most of them is increasing their stock price- period. If producing organic doesn’t add to their profit line, then I believe it’s unlikely that these products will stick around.

However, until it’s determined whether or not these products are viable to these corporate institutions, I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. I’m interested in seeing the consumer response to these products, and what lengths these corporations will go to produce them.

Conversely, I’m also interested in seeing how much influence these companies exert on the USDA to change the organic standards. Because it is in that influence that we’ll see the corporations true colors.

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