Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Signs of the Economic Apocalypse, Part 8

As any regular NPR listener knows, "Silk is soy." But it's no longer organic, at least not all the time.

Starting in January, packages of Silk "that look much like our existing line" will no longer be organic, the manufacturer said in an e-mail to customers last night.

"At a time when all food costs are on the rise, the change allows us to keep our prices reasonable, so more people can afford to make Silk an everyday healthy choice," the e-mail said. (Doesn't that imply the cost of the organic is unreasonable?) In a nod to the trend of of buying locally produced food over organics, the company also noted that the new products would be made exclusively from North American soybeans.

I don't have much of a problem with the change, chiefly because I don't drink soy milk. Also, I have some doubts about whether organics really deliver what consumers think they're getting. In particular, I don't think consumers know the organic label does not signify any regular testing for pesticides. That's true even though purportedly organic products are regularly sourced from countries where toxic chemicals regularly contaminate groundwater. More on that here.