Needlepoint Class - Chuck Poulsen  

The organic scam

There is no way for shoppers to know that the “organic” tomato or banana at the supermarket may be an environmental fraud that had previously been awash in pesticide.

That’s the contention of Mischa Popoff in his new book: Is it Really Organic? Mischa is a journalist/author from Osoyoos who can occasionally be heard on Kelowna radio AM 1150 when he fills in for the afternoon drive slot. He says food is not tested anywhere in the Americas. “Certified” organic just means the paperwork has been done with no proof that organic standards have really been met. He isn’t the only one who thinks the organic industry can be a little shady, maybe very shady.

There is an organic fruit processing plant down the road from where I am sitting now in Mexico. The owner, Jim, dries and processes mangos and bananas. A lot of it ends up in granola and fruit bars. It’s sold almost worldwide. I have no doubt about Jim’s integrity but I thought he might stick up for the whole organic industry.

Jim, who moved here from Vancouver, did not. He’s on side with Mischa.
Says Jim: “There is a well-known joke in the industry that goes: ‘If it’s organic, it’s organic. If it’s just certified organic – who knows?”

Says Mischa: “If you thought ‘certified organic’ meant there was a surprise inspection or that the food you pay double for was field-tested to ensure prohibited substances weren’t used, you are mistaken.

“All of the ‘organic’ food available at your supermarket is certified solely on the basis of paperwork. Try to imagine the Olympics without athletes being tested. Being organic is no longer about farming fields. It’s about filling forms. And that’s a disgrace.”

This issue could be more than just over-pricing consumers and giving them a false sense that they are doing the right thing for the planet.

I won’t by gasoline with corn ethanol in it because it takes far more energy and environmental impact to produce ethanol than gasoline. When ethanol became a phoney big deal, the price of corn shot up. The Mexicans in this area are mostly poor by Canadian standards. Corn tortillas are a staple of their diet. Suddenly, they couldn’t afford corn. We starve poor people to falsely boast about reducing our carbon footprint.

Mischa grew up on an organic farm and worked for five years as an organic inspector. He supports as much organic farming as possible without “reverting to this primitive sort of de-industrialized communalism.”

Pesticides were developed for a reason. The plant yields were higher and of better quality.

How do the poor feed themselves as the food supply shrinks?

Here is a chilling quote from Mischa:

“There was a time when we referred to this as what it really is: genocide. Now it’s called “environmental sustainability."

“The truth is, it will always take a certain amount of energy and a certain amount of methane and CO2 to produce a given amount of food. What are we supposed to do, starve to save the planet?”

A lot of Jim’s mangos and bananas make their way to Europe, where testing is done. He does regular surprise inspections on the Mexican farm supplies, looking for pesticides.

“If we find any, that supplier is blackballed by us for three years,” said Jim.

He said a recent laboratory test of his fruit in Europe found a tiny trace of 2,4-D.

“That’s a bad one that is now banned in the U.S. and Canada but not Mexico,” said Jim. “How did it get in there? I don’t know but I suspect it blew over from another orchard. You just keep doing your due diligence but it would be foolish to claim some things don’t slip through the cracks.”


The mighty Green Bay Packers are going to the Super Bowl. After beating the sissy Chicago Bears in the conference final last week, a Chicago car salesman showed up for work wearing a Packers’ tie. They fired him. How is that for sore losers?

The guy was on national TV and had another job the next day.

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