About Me
I'm a Melbourne boy, hailing from St Kilda with one ex, one current wife and four kids. Love the outdoors and making new discoveries. I cook a lot at home (cheers from wife) and do some preserving, mostly jams, pickles and fruit liqueurs. This is the diary of a cooking journey.

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Monday, August 27, 2007
Fooled You
We like our organics, don't we?

What do you think of when you see the word organic proudly displayed alongside food stuffs, what vision do you have of how it was produced? Do you see in your mind old fashioned farmers tenderly nurturing their crop, splashing home made compost everywhere, picking off insects by hand, glorious tasting food?

Not anymore.

In the Sunday Age, there was an article about a Geelong egg producer, G O Drew, who had been fraudulently marketing eggs to supermarkets as organic, when in fact they were ordinary eggs (read factory farmed), some 400,000 of them.

The reason they were caught?

G O Drew passed off the eggs as having certification from an Australian organic regulator. If they had merely claimed the eggs were organic, without certification, there would have been no prosecution case. That's right, anyone can use the word organic to describe their food product, here's what Justice Peter Gray had to say... "The practical difficulty … in one respect in the present case arises from the absence of any commonly accepted or recognised standard for determining what is an organic egg."

It would seem anyone has the right to call their eggs organic, regardless of how they are produced, scary huh? Don't think it just stops at eggs either.

The article went on to say...'Neither the Organic Federation of Australia nor the Consumer Association could estimate how much of Australia's $500 million organic industry was subject to abuse, but they said the proportion was small.'

They would say that wouldn't they, but how the hell would they know? It's not as if the fraudsters would be actually admitting to it, G O Drew sold more than 33,000 dozen eggs before they were detected...after two years.

As always, Caveat Emptor (buyer beware).
  posted at 9:37 am

At 12:58 pm, Blogger Ed said...

Saved me from writing this. Did you see Epicure the other week where it talked about some Farmers Markets selling imported products - I think it was Chinese Garlic?

At 6:43 pm, Blogger MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

As always, you are all over it.

At 7:55 pm, Blogger The Gourmand said...

Hi Neil
I have noticed eggs from the supermarket are rather second rate- no matter how they are labled. For this reason I never buy eggs from the supermarket.
I may not be able to tell the diffrence between organic, freerange, cage etc but I certainly know a good egg when I see and taste one. Supermarket labels do not fool me and I simply do not trust them.
PS Don't get me started on my experience with "corn fed" chicken!

At 7:57 am, Blogger neil said...

Hi ed, yes, I did see that. Perhaps its about time farmer's markets were a bit more vigilant about their stalls and the produce, if they're not, they will only hurt themselves in the long run.

Hi tanna, indubitably!

Hi gourmand, it's funny that a lot of people think there is no difference between eggs and are so surprised when they get their first taste of a good one. Sounds like you have been scarred by corn fed chicken, hope it wasn't too serious.

At 10:13 pm, Blogger The Gourmand said...

Hi Neil,
No the "corn fed" chicken didn't leave us too scarred. We read the ingredients on a fresh corn fed supermarket chicken as we were about to buy it. It said 89% chicken. what the other 11% was, who knows...?
Needless to say, that "chicken" stayed in the supermarkt.

At 9:55 am, Blogger Zoe said...

I agree about farmers' markets needing to be more vigilant - the Canberra one has some absolutely outstanding offerings, and some complete crap. For instance there is an amazing mushroom producers from the Southern Highlands who sells at $45/kilo while the guy from the dodgy Asian grocery sells 500 g pre-pack "exotic mushrooms" for a few bucks.

Then again it's not just dodgy resellers, it's ignorant or uncaring shoppers who want supermarket convenience.

Also, I hate people taking dogs around the markets.


At 1:47 pm, Blogger neil said...

Hi zoe, it's all about careful shopping, not everyone is up for it and I guess they get catered for as well...

I absolutely understand about the dogs, you wouldn't take one into a shop, why doesn't the same apply to market stalls?


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