Monday, August 29, 2011

Organic labels don't mean allergy-free for corn allergies

There's a trend today among those allergic to corn to look for the easy way out. Easy signs on boxes or keywords to look for that increase their chances of something being corn-free. (Personally I really wish we had trustworthy signs on packages, but that isn't going to happen any day soon.)

Over the last few posts here, we've tried to tackle the "corn-free" label on foods issue expressing our concerns that "corn-free" wording means very little to the corn allergic.

However, we've yet to tackle the "Organic" issue that seems to be bandied about today as the be-all of corn-freedom.

"You must look for Organic"… "Is it organic?".. "If it's not organic it'll contain corn."

There was a time when "Organic" actually meant a farmer grew it safely in his field without harmful chemicals and it was delivered to you without waxes or preservatives.  During this time, hunting for "organic" foods was a wise choice for people with a corn allergy.

Then Big Business got ahold of the "Organic" label. Now organic can mean a lot of things and even include nasty things.

What Organic means today is generally that almost any nasty thing that was once made with petroleum is now made with ethanol (corn) which can be sourced "organically".

I don't want to get into the debate of which is healthier for you or which foods have more nutrients. If "organic" on labels actually meant what it should, this wouldn't even be a post.

What I do want to make sure to point out is that "organic" labeling today essentially ensures that if a preservative or wash was used, it was corn-based (or soy). Wax coatings on organic fruits - corn-based. Washes on organic veggies - corn-based. Even foods at farmers markets labeled organic can use pesticides made from organic corn or corn in the fertilizer and corn-based washes.

Organic canned goods.. will have corn-based "organic" citric acid.  Organic meats are still processed/washed with corny acids most of the time.

I've even seen organic potato chips laden with corn-based dextrose and maltodextrin.

If you want to eat "organic", I have no problems with your choice. I would even encourage it.

However, if you're eating "organic" in hopes of being corn-free, you'll be sadly mistaken.


Unknown said...

Good note! What I can't grasp is that according to the Feds "Organic" is suppose to mean NON-GMO, or GMO are not allowed to be labeled "Organic". What about the corn ingredient used to make citric acid or vinegar? Are the Feds looking at the ingredients used to make the citric acid or vinegar? Are they truly NON-GMO, or because it doesn't say corn, but instead citric acid or vinegar they think it doesn't count or matter that it really is GMO?

Shauna said...

And now some organic farmers are using corn gluten as a pre-emergent herbicide, too.

I've seen it advertised not only for small organic farms, but for lawn care purposes, too. Now it's not even safe to sit down on the grass, ugh.

Katie said...

I am having a really hard time dealing with my newly diagnosed corn allergy (Was already aware of Tree-nut, peanut and sesame allergies) I just loaded up at the grocery store on organic produce for our upcoming Christmas dinner, should I have opted for the non-organic versions? Or how should I go about making sure they are safe? Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thank you.

V said...

Katie - It depends on what you picked up. Apples - all of them are problematic. Scrub with baking soda and peel (but even that doesn't always get it all). Strawberries can be problematic, organic are generally better but not always. It really depends. Onions/Garlic doesn't seem to matter if they're organic or not.

Keith said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ariel said...

How do I go about avoiding this if I want to eat organic?

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