Organic: A Journalist's Quest to Discover the Truth behind Food Labeling

Organic: A Journalist's Quest to Discover the Truth behind Food Labeling

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Part food narrative, part investigation, part adventure story, Organic is an eye-opening and entertaining look into the anything goes world behind the organic label. It is also a wakeup call about the dubious origins of food labeled organic. After eating some suspect organic walnuts that supposedly were produced in Kazakhstan, veteran journalist Peter Laufer chooses a few items from his home pantry and traces their origins back to their source. Along the way he learns how easily we are tricked into taking "organic" claims at face value.With organic foods readily available at supermarket chains, confusion and outright deception about labels have become commonplace. Globalization has allowed food from highly corrupt governments and businesses overseas to pollute the organic market with food that is anything but. The organic environment is like the Wild West: oversight is virtually nonexistent, and deception runs amok. Laufer investigates so-called organic farms in Europe and South America as well as in his own backyard in the Pacific Northwest.The book examines what constitutes organic and by whom the definitions are made. The answers will stun readers, who have been sold a questionable, highly suspect, and even false bill of goods for years. View the book trailer for Organic at:

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780762790715
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date: 07/01/2014
Edition description: 1st Edition
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Peter Laufer, PhD, is the author of more than a dozen books that deal with social and political issues—from borders and identity to human relationships with other animals—including The Dangerous World of Butterflies: The Startling Subculture of Criminals, Collectors, and Conservationists; The Elusive State of Jefferson: A Journey through the 51st State; Mission Rejected: U.S. Soldiers Who Say No to Iraq; Wetback Nation: The Case for Opening the Mexican-American Border; and Slow News: A Manifesto for the Critical News Consumer. He is the James Wallace Chair in Journalism at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication. More about his books, documentary films, and broadcasts, which have won the George Polk, Robert F. Kennedy, Edward R. Murrow, and other awards, can be found at

Table of Contents

Preface: Organic? vii

Introduction: Nuts and Beans x

1 Traitor Joe 1

2 Branding the Organic Industry 12

3 Just Retired and Ready to Talk 30

4 The Man behind USDA Organic 49

5 Old-World Organic 60

6 Uncertified and Self-Certified: A Sojourn to Costa Rica 71

7 The NSA ≠ Organics 87

8 Grandfathers of the Old-World Organic Movement 97

9 US and Them 119

10 More Than Nuts and Beans 136

11 On the Great Silk Road … to Walnuts 152

12 The Oregon Tilth Certification Routine 171

13 The Corn Hustler 181

14 The Tunisian Olive Poet and the Hungarian Corn Burner 189

15 Sic Transit Italy 206

16 My Grocer Agrees: We Don't Know Beans about Our Beans 221

17 My Beans Go Home 235

Epilogue 250

Acknowledgments 256

Notes 262

Index 271

About the Author 276

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Organic: A Journalist's Quest to Discover the Truth Behind Food Labeling 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A wonderful read into the world of organic groceries.