If you want a good deal on a high-end bottle of wine, a new study suggests you should look for wines that clearly indicate they’re made from organic grapes. An economics professor and an environmental science Ph.D. candidate compared wines made with certified organically grown grapes to conventional wines, looking at both price and taste rankings, and found that the organic ones scored on average one point higher on Wine Spectator’s rankings. For some reason, telling that to consumers seems to devalue the wine: high-scoring bottles that advertised their organic nature sold for less at retail, while bottles that withheld this info scored just as high on taste but also were priced higher than average. [More]
Global fast fashion retailer H&M and European chains C&A and Tchibo have been caught selling misleading “organic cotton” products to consumers. Independent testing done by Germany’s Financial Times showed that 30% of the samples contained genetically modified strains of cotton. Oops. [More]
A group of farmers in the Seattle area are testing out a new $300,000 “Mobile Meat Processing Unit”—a 45-foot stainless steel trailer that comes with its own USDA inspector and a butcher—in an attempt to see whether they can make a profit selling their meat locally instead of shipping livestock off to a feedlot “hundreds of miles away.”
Are America’s spending habits becoming more… gasp… sensible?? Time magazine has a list of things we’re spending our money on during this recession, and it might surprise you. We’re not buying tinned soup, we’re buying organic veggies! We’re finally getting that root canal we’ve been putting off! We’ve stopped boozing and whoring! And we’re learning to survive without painting our nails.
We don’t blame the Mid America CropLife Association (MACA)—
a pesticide an agribusiness trade group—for promoting its interests, but we still think it’s funny that they’ve asked the first family to not grow organic vegetables in the White House vegetable garden. MACA’s Executive Director Bonnie McCarvel sent a long letter to Michelle Obama reminding her of the importance of technology in modern farming, then publicized the letter via an email where she noted, “While a garden is a great idea, the thought of it being organic made Janet Braun, CropLife Ambassador Coordinator and I shudder.”
The Lansing State Journal has put together a list of 5 marked-up retail categories to be aware of when you’re making purchasing decisions, most of which you hopefully already know. If you can’t find wholesale sources or DIY replacements, then at least make sure you do a lot of comparison shopping to get the best deal.
Want an extra $1,000? The Wall Street Journal has a list of seven things that you can easily stop buying without making drastic changes to your lifestyle.
Here are 11 fruits and vegetables that typically have low amounts of pesticides. Now we just need to find a recipe for asparagus pineapple onion salad. [The Daily Green]
While shopping at Safeway today I noticed something odd about the “O” Organics Milk. After I listened to a mom tell her daughter she buys “whatever is on sale” I went to purchase my own milk and realized that’s not such a good plan. A half gallon was on sale for 2 for $7. Or if your a savvy shopper you could buy a gallon for $6.59. The Safeway website confirms it.
The New York Times reports that more and more people are buying shares of small farms, mostly on the coasts and around the Great Lakes region, which guarantee them a percentage of the season’s harvest. This “community-supported agriculture” model has exploded from fewer than 100 farms in the early 90s to nearly 1,500 in recent years. Helping out is optional, although we’re not sure the real farmers would appreciate our constant bitching about being in the sun. (I worked summers hoeing cotton fields in Texas, which is partly why I moved to NYC.)
A test of 47 “natural” and “green” labeled soaps, shampoos and other consumer products show that they contain 1,4-dioxan, which has been shown to cause cancer in lab rats. [LAT]
Here at the Consumerist we’re not trying to tell you that you need to buy organic soap, but if you do want organic soap… we think you should get what you’re paying for.
Who really owns some of the biggest organic brands in the country? GOOD magazine made one of their sexy graphs to show you. For instance, Coke owns Odwalla, Pepsi owns Naked, and Kraft owns Boca Burgers. The chart also shows you that these parent companies are among the top 30 food processing companies. Not like we’re talking a giant scandal or anything, it’s just interesting to know more about where your food is really coming from. Just because it’s organic doesn’t mean it was made on a happy communal love-farm .
The Aurora Dairy controversy has spread to the retailers, as lawsuits seeking class-action status have be filed alleging “that Costco Wholesale Corp., Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Target Corp., Safeway Inc. and Wild Oats Markets Inc. sold Aurora’s milk under their own in-house brand names.”
Have you purchased sportswear at Lululemon Athletica? If you have, you’re not alone, the store is doing quite well selling “organic” sportswear made of odd materials with dubious heath benefits.
Consumers in twenty-seven states are suing Aurora Dairy, the nation’s largest organic dairy for selling milk that failed to meet basic organic standards. The suit is bolstered by findings from USDA inspectors, who found that between December 2003 and April 2007, Aurora: “labeled and represented milk as organically produced, when such milk was not produced and handled in accordance with the National Organic Program regulations.”