False Advertising: When Organic Really Isn’t

Newmans Own Organics

Take a look at this product. It’s brand name includes the word “organic”. It is “made with organic wheat flour & organic sugar”. If you are a consumer interested in buying certified organic products, you may be tempted to buy it.

However, it is actually NOT a certified organic product. You have been duped. None of this product’s other ingredients are organic.

The USDA has issued updated instruction to manufacturers warning them that this type of product packaging can be misleading to consumers:

While we believe that the term, “organic,” in a brand name context does not inherently imply an organic production or handling claim and, thus, does not inherently constitute a false or misleading statement, we intend to monitor the use of the term in the context of the entire label. We will consult with the FTC and FDA regarding product and company names that may misrepresent the nature of the product and take action on a case-by-case basis.

Basically, Newman’s Own and other manufacturers could find themselves being reprimanded by the FDA or FTC. Since there is no clear-cut decision here, some manufacturers will continue to dupe consumers and take the risk of regulatory action, while others will figure out a safer solution.

(H/t to The Cornucopia Institute)

  • mfp142

    Our daily fight to obtain clean fresh food and water, reduced to a war of words…..geesh.
    It’s just easier/healthier not to buy processed foods at all. When will the companies start realizing this? When we ALL stop buying so much processed foods. We can really only speak to them through our purchasing power.

  • Catherine

    I think we all know by now that no labels can be trusted. Well, anyone who has bothered to look into what they are eating anyway. Whilst I am not glad that we have food intolerances in our family per se, I am glad for the world of information it has opened up to us.

  • bpie1

    Yea this is no surprise. Thats why everytime I talk about anything “organic” I always quote that word using my two hands. Im my recent post under taxing the sugar I wrote that I go to the extremes on how I read ingredients lables. Which brings me back to the term “organic”. Sure theres a lot of foods out there that are partially “organic”. Basically, if you are a consumer you need to know how to read a label. 80% of what the label says really isnt what it says, its just another word for a chemically processed gmo and preservatives. Please get yourself educated on what exactly the ingredients mean. For example, spices. Chemical. Words you may know in your vocabulary do not match up w the ingredients vocabulary. Do your research and get fooducated!

  • overseaschinese

    Funny thing is, why isn’t anyone blaming on the food producers? Why only mention that it is the marketers’ fault or labelling issue? Isn’t the problem much wider?

    If this happens in China, it would be on the food producers, not its commercial aspects. And that’s how it should be to get to the root causes and weed it out.

  • xzanthius

    All of our food should be ‘organic’.

    • dyannne

      And if it’s not, it should be labeled, “NOT organic.”

      • xzanthius

        Yup. Or simply labeled ‘poor quality’.

  • Carol H

    They are allowed to use the word “organic” in their brand name because it came before the USDA National Organic Program started. The same is true of brands using terms like “lite”, “healthy”, etc. which now are labeling claims that must meet certain criteria. If the name came before the regulations, then generally it is ok for use. However, anything that wants to claim “certified organic” or “USDA organic” must be certified and meet the criteria for whatever level of organic it is labeled as.