We come across a lot of silly proposals around here (see also: PETA ads), but sometimes we find something that just takes the cake. Today, it’s a sign at a Vancouver grocery store that reads: “Dear Customers, Please be advised that our Bread Slicer is used for Both Conventional and Organic Items.” As one reader of a popular blog put it, it’s not as if chemicals from conventionally-made bread can “leap” across to organic bread via a bread slicer. (And organic food isn’t necessarily chemical-free to begin with.) Does anyone really think their organic bread could get “cooties” from a bunch of automated knives?
This could be the beginning of the “peanut-ification” of non-organic food. Will organic crackers soon come with a label that says “This product made in a facility that processes non-organic products”? Maybe. It may be time for organic foodie elitists to adopt the “5-second rule”—just in case their food touches something not endorsed by Michael Pollan.
Organic eating is fine in moderation, just like any other culinary fad. But when it becomes dogma, watch out. Would a conventionally-made crumb or two matter? It’s doubtful. There’s not much (if any) difference in nutrition between organically grown and conventionally grown foods, as a recent review by Great Britain’s Food Standards Agency determined. And as more people are beginning to note, organic is a marketing tool (and just a fancy way of saying "expensive").
If organic worshippers want to superstitiously isolate themselves from the rest of the food-eating world, that’s their prerogative. But they just might get lonely eating their 6-dollar heirloom tomato.