by Gregg Prescott, M.S.
With a huge push for GMO labeling in the United States, we are starting to see a trend towards a healthy, organic lifestyle and it appears that the fast food restaurants are following suit. Yet, in the United States, “organic” still boils down to one of three criteria:
•When a product bears the USDA Organic Seal.
•When a product has been certified organic.
•When a product contains 95% or more organic ingredients.
Even when food meets one of the three criteria, one must consider the water used to grow the food (Did it contain fluoride, chlorine and other chemicals?), what types of pesticides were used on the food and how the food will be processed by these fast food chains.
In an interesting twist, a recent news article stated that McDonald’s may sell more organic foods to increase sales. According to this particular article posted on Bloomberg,:
The world’s largest restaurant chain already uses organic semi-skimmed milk in McCafe coffees, porridge and Happy Meals in some restaurants in the U.K., said Becca Hary, a company spokeswoman. Organic milk also is sold in Germany, while organic fruit juice is available in Germany and France, she said.
McDonald’s has been struggling to boost sales amid increased competition for low-priced meals. In the U.S., the chain has recently tried selling $2 jalapeno burgers and chorizo burritos in some locations to lure diners. The items haven’t really attracted Americans, who are increasingly flocking to fast-casual chains where they can customize meals and find some organic fare. (1)
Wal-Mart has also jumped into the ring with their Wild Oats brand of organic food. this product line will carry approximately 100 packaged items, including salsa, pasta sauce, dried spices, olive oil and black beans.
According to an article on Consumer Reports:
Wild Oats items are at least 25 percent less expensive than other brands of similar organic goods currently sold at Walmart, based on an internal audit conducted by the chain. How can Walmart sell these products so cheaply? As you might expect, it has a lot to do with the chain’s enormous buying clout. Walmart buys in huge volume and has made a long-term commitment to Wild Oats. Even so, Walmart has no intention of dropping its other organic brands, Marquardt said. The typical Walmart carries about 1,600 organic items. (2)
Wal-Mart told The New York Times its new line of organics will remove “the premium associated with organic groceries” so that they were “priced the same as similar non-organic brand-name goods.” Mark Kastel, co-founder of the Cornucopia Institute, a Wisconsin-based farm policy research group and owner of a 160-acre organic farm used to pasture beef cattle, allows that this is one possibility. He says Wal-Mart’s mastery of supply-chain logistics, which enables it to bring more goods to market cheaper and faster than any other company, could “expand the availability of organic food in the United States.” That could lower costs for shoppers, create more demand for organic farmers and spur price reductions at Whole Foods, the leading national health-food chain derided as “Whole Paycheck” for the high price of many of its organic offerings. But Kastel thinks it’s more likely Wal-mart will undermine organics. “If Wal-Mart [pushes organic food] at the expense of organic farmers,” he says, “then everyone loses.” (3)
Through activism and consumer awareness, there has been a large push for GMO labeling in the United States, yet many of the large corporations who sell GMO’s have been lobbying against labeling. What many people in the United States don’t realize is that in Europe, “Wal-Mart, General Mills, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Nestle, Unilever, Kellogg’s, Starbucks – even McDonald’s – are GMO-free, thanks to strict GMO labeling laws.” (4)
The most blatantly obvious underlying theme to both McDonald’s and Wal-Mart jumping on the organic bandwagon is how they’re doing this for the money and not our health or best interests. The movement for healthy living has been an ongoing progression for many, many years but once these corporate giants realized where the money was going, they began to change directions. If either cared more about our health and less about their profit margins, then both would have jumped on the organic bandwagon a long time ago.
About the Author:
Gregg Prescott, M.S. is the founder and editor of In5D and BodyMindSoulSpirit. He hosts a weekly spiritual show on In5D Radio and promotes spiritual, metaphysical and esoteric conferences in the United States through In5dEvents. Gregg is currently working in collaboration with Michelle Walling, CHLC, in opening a holistic walk-in clinic called Alternative Holistic Healthcare (AHH) in Sarasota, FL with subsequent subsidiaries around the world based upon this model.