September 16, 1994

Organic and Natural

Buy our products and save the Earth!

My pet peeve used to be deodorant ads. First the hucksters try to convince us that we stink and that, as a consequence we offended other people -who didn't stink- so we should all buy the advertised product. Now it's the hucksters who are peddling organic, natural and ecologically correct products.

I am looking at a catalogue from a company that sells "products for a healthy planet." They sell clothes made from "organic cotton." Have you ever heard of inorganic cotton? They do not consider that adding -horrors!-- 20% polyester would make your shirt last more than twice as long, thereby not requiring replacement as often and cutting their profits by a goodly amount. There is also the added benefit from polyester of less ironing, which uses less electricity.

Like Sears and Wards, their female models are not only all organic, but they are exquisitely organic.

Their boots are made with PVC, "which takes a third less energy to make than rubber." They forgot that rubber comes from trees and PVC is made from the carcinogen vinyl chloride.

Their comforter is made with "Biofil", a polyester with a nicer, ecologically more correct name than Dacron.

For just $19.95 you can buy an "Incredible Head," the best water-conserving shower head made. They're right, it is the best. I have checked them all out, because I am always short of water, and I use that particular shower head. I bought mine for $6 at Friedman's hardware store.

They also sell the same detergents that you can buy in the supermarket, with new labels. They don't tell us that you can no longer buy a detergent that isn't biodegradable. They condemn ammonia in cleaners. While ammonia stinks; when it gets into the soil it becomes a valuable plant nutrient.

In short, their organic catalogue is overpriced organic fertilizer: either bull or horse.

The Food and Drug Administration would like to have food and drink accurately labeled as to their contents, so that the savvy consumer will know what he is getting. They don't get up early enough to keep up with the food and drink manufacturers.

I have some bottles and cans of fruit drinks in front of me. Ocean Spray Cran-Grape contains, in order of it's concentration, water, grape juice, high fructose corn syrup, cranberry juice, fumaric acid, natural flavors, ascorbic acid. It contains 170 calories per serving. That bottle holds 16 ounces, but they list the serving size as 8oz. Have you ever known anyone to drink half a bottle of pop? If you drink the whole bottle, you will get 340 calories, which is more than what most Stauffer's complete dinners contain. They claim that it has 100% vitamin C, which, I assume means 60 to 150mg. of the stuff. Drink a whole bottle, and you're getting 120 to 300mg. If it's a hot day, and you drink 3 or 4 bottles of the stuff, you'll be getting into the megadose vitamin range.

Snapple is the same, but it only has 5% juice which accounts for the fact that it has 220 calories per bottle, instead of 340.

Crystal Geyser, a local product, is natural. How do I know that it's natural? Why it says so on the label. It contains 72% fruit juice and 28% seltzer. It contains no added sugar, so it only has 28 calories per bottle. It also has a small amount of vitamin C and B complex vitamins and iron.

A can of Hansen's natural soda contains carbonated water, high fructose corn sweetener, natural citric acid, natural fruit flavors. It doesn't tell you how many calories are in it. In other words, the contents are as natural as the can that it comes in.

So, I suggest that when you see the words natural or organic, that you either read the entire label, or ignore it entirely. Better still, if you want a fruit drink, consider whole or concentrated fruit juice diluted with water or soda water. Come to think of it, ice cold water is a great drink on a hot day; it has no calories and it's really natural.

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