EggsBarbara H. Peterson

Farm Wars

Slap a ‘USDA Certified Organic’ label on a product, and viola! It is safe, GMO-free, and healthy, right? If you are comfortable and feel safe believing that, then this article is not for you. However, if you think that somehow trusting the USDA – an agency that has proven time and time again that its sole purpose is to hand the act of producing food over to the hands of multinational agribusiness corporations such as Monsanto – with the truthful labeling of our supposedly ‘organic’ food is foolhardy at best, then read on.

Recently I posted “GMOs in USDA Organic Food“ on Farm Wars. It is getting very little notice. Why? Because nobody wants to hear it. It tears apart the illusion of a ‘safe’ haven for non-GMO food. It attacks the bubble we create for ourselves, thinking that we can simply go to the store and pick up a can of ‘USDA Certified Organic’ food and feel safe. It makes us uncomfortable because it demands that we take responsibility for our food choices instead of relegating those choices to a government agency whose sole purpose is to subjugate and control. And we go home with our cans and jars and boxes of government-certified phony ‘organic’ food and feel good about ourselves that we made the right choice and have taken a stand for food safety.


I say to the people who equate food safety to the USDA Organic label: Get up off of your hind ends and do the research! Just because it says USDA Organic does not mean that it has not been adulterated by people whose job is to do just that. If you don’t trust the company who makes the food, then USDA Organic label or not, DO NOT BUY IT!

Even Monsanto is getting into the ‘organic’ market by adding another division to its portfolio in an attempt to take advantage of the growing demand for organic food caused by the backlash that it created by flooding store shelves with its patented genetically engineered pesticide-laden factory ‘foods.’ Monsanto wants to own ALL seeds, including organic, and is working steadily on a monopoly on the creation of every single thing we eat. Would you buy ‘USDA Certified Organic’ made by Monsanto?

Egg Comparison

egg yolksTake a good look at this photo in which I compare my non-labeled, non-certified organic homegrown egg yolk with a yolk from one of the ‘USDA Certified Organic’ eggs that I bought at the market. How do I know mine is organic? The USDA didn’t tell me. I know it is organic because I know what my chickens eat, and I know how they are raised. Mine is the one on the right. The shell is lighter, but the yolk is much darker. A darker yolk indicates a well-rounded diet. My hens free range. The storebought egg is on the left. The shell is darker, but the yolk is a very pale yellow. Why the difference? Just because it is stamped ‘USDA Certified Organic’ doesn’t mean that the hens are getting a well-rounded diet. It simply means that the feed they are getting is labeled ‘USDA Certified Organic,’ and not necessarily nutritious.

rita knowsTo go even further, I cooked both eggs, and put some of the yolk from each one into Rita Bird’s feeder. To be more than fair and reduce the level of ‘chance’ in the experiment, I put only one piece from my chicken’s egg into the bowl along with three pieces of the storebought one. Guess which yolk she went after? Yup, she picked through them and found the one homegrown yolk. Now the question is… do we have the sense of a bird when it comes to choosing our food? From the looks of it, I’d say no.

Labels do not indicate that a product is healthy, nutritious, or good for us. They simply indicate what the grocery manufacturers in collusion with government agencies want us to know. Everything they don’t want revealed is hidden behind that label. Labeling has turned into something much more than simply letting customers know what it is they are buying. It has been turned and twisted into something that conveys whatever illusion corporations want to display in order to sell more products. This practice is commonly known as ‘marketing,’ and it is perfectly legal. Ethical? No. But since when has the USDA or Monsanto or most any other giant agribusiness ever been concerned with ethics?

©2014 Barbara H. Peterson

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47 Responses to “The Organic Illusion”

  1. David says:

    ^Jane Zule. it doesn’t take much land to raise chickens. I worked a chick farm in FL years ago and you’d be suprised the amount of room they enjoy to run around in. any small yard would suffice. and people should realize maybe that is the way the world SHOULD be where you trust you and yours and work the land a bit to raise some form of food then you can sell/trade the excess to neighbors for things you don’t grow yourself. its really very easy. peaceful too

  2. Tanya Dmitrieva says:

    Barb, Eggs gives birds indigestion and toxins in the eggs will make them constipated. I know this because I gave my birds eggs and they were bound up and I had to give them oil and fish and rub their bellies so they could have bowel movements.

  3. kp, Exactly. That is the point. Chickens do not do well when confined all their lives to a small area, and only fed processed feed from a bag. They will instinctively eat what they need when allowed to do so. The darker yolks indicate a higher concentration of nutrients in the eggs because of the chickens’ diverse diet.

  4. kp says:

    Barbara, I’ve raised lots of chickens and just out of curiousity is it possible that the difference in the yolks is yours are free range and the other ‘organic’ were either from caged or cage free hens that never go outside?

  5. From the article: “If you don’t trust the company who makes the food, then USDA Organic label or not, DO NOT BUY IT!” Source your food. Know who is making it. Make informed decisions.

  6. Jane Zule says:

    So WTF are we supposed to do? Not everyone has land to raise their own chickens.

  7. Lisa George says:

    You fed eggs to a bird? Why would anyone do that? I mean birds eat nuts, seeds, fruit and bugs, but eggs are not on their menu. I would think that would be strange. Did you just put the store bought egg and see if he refused? I know Russian people hate our eggs and won’t even eat them. Animals go by instincts.

  8. Hi Barbara,
    Back in the 80’s I argued with Bob Rodale and others about this Panacea (another name for pain in the butt) National ORGANIC Standard and labeling. Anything that the USDA has anything to with gravitates to the ones with the most money. Bob assured me that tight controls and standards would be adhered to. I tried to remind him of other “successes” and even pointed to some of his father’s own writings. I was the crazy guy and refused to accept organic accreditation on my farms. We prefer to call our produce biodynamic. Mr. Charles Walters was a “Dynamite in a small package”. I think that the bio-dynamic way of life is better than “organic” whenever the government is involved.
    Good luck and God bless you and yours in 2014.

  9. Stephen Pavich says:

    Excellent article. This is the best we have for now. The masses have a choice and if 90% of organic production is legit so be it. Even the cheaters are 80-90% organic which means there application of organic materials are still better than conventional crap. I know this isn’t good enough but people like yourself will continue to chip away at the cheaters.
    Stephen Pavich
    longtime organic grower

  10. nedlud says:

    Hi everyone~

    Just a word about Cornucopia: I asked Mark Kastel, director of Cornucopia, for help with the problems (abuse) I/we(my family) was having as an individual small farmer with Organic Valley, a large organic business monopoly. He refused to help, citing federal laws which prevented his organization from helping any individual. They can organize games and contests, it appears, but not help anyone who asks them.

    Incidentally, I wrote many other notable people, in the ag field, including Wendell Berry and Joel Salatin, asking them for help, and no one ever did. Very very few even took the time to respond. Wendell Berry wrote me a brusgue letter saying there was nothing he would do and Salation was among the many who never even answered me.

    I also asked a LARGE number of lawyers, to help us, but not one considered our case worth taking on. Meaning they saw no money in it for themselves. Our insurance company was also of no use, whatsoever.

    I cannot tell you how angry I am, and this is how it all goes down….

    nedlud, a poor family farmer

  11. That’s funny, Terry. Evidently you don’t know much about Macaws. She eats what she wants, when she wants, and if something is there that she doesn’t like, she gets rid of it, or digs through it to find what she does like. “Little beak?” LOL!!!!!!! Please go to a bird shop and actually look at a Macaw and see if you can “push his little beak” towards anything! ROFLOL!!!!

  12. Terry Jones says:

    Someone putting egg yolks in front of birds. How do we know the organic wasn’t closer or that maybe Barb saw the bird going for the store bought egg and made a loud noise or maybe pushed his little beak towards the organic egg? Was the store bought egg in a taller dish? I just want to know it was done fairly.

  13. pm says:

    Here’s a link to a contest held by the Cornucopia Institute in which you can win $100 for identifying which eggs in your local grocery stores are truly organic and which are fraudulently labeled as such.

    I’d imagine that Barb will have an inside track on this prize already.

  14. LOL!!! I hate to be the one to point this out to you, Scott, but birds are not vegan. If you have a chance to actually watch them free range, you would see that they eat bugs, worms, small rodents, their own broken eggs, and lots of things that would make you want to upchuck. They are birds. That’s what they do.

  15. Scott says:

    i just have to point out a piece of irony – I’m sorry but does anyone else see the juxtaposition of feeding a bird a piece of egg and talking about ethics … it’s like “the mother and child reunion” from the Paul Simon song …

    A bird eating a bird egg … just strikes me as amusing and a little creepily cannibalistic!

  16. Van says:

    My motto is,”IF IT IS CERTIFIED USDA- GO THE OTHER WAY”! Never have trusted those CROOKS!

  17. Karen Scribner says:

    If the organic egg needs to be pasteurized it is because of the CAFO methods used to farm the chickens to keep the salmonella in the chickens that comes out in the eggs.

  18. Because I do not knowingly buy “GMO eggs.” ;)

  19. Zenaura says:

    Why did you not put a “GMO Egg” next to those? I’m very intuitive, organically. And in the past 2 months I have seen rise in the rebellion against organic… I think the systems are fighting back, if you know what I mean. But our revolutions will not be stopped. Bless all <3 Love <3 Light <3 Health <3 Wellness <3 Abundance <3

  20. Studies have been done: “Besides being a coveted color, orange yolks are an indication of a well balanced and highly nutritious diet. A few things factor into the making of an orange yolk: xanthophylls, omega-3 fatty acids, and meats.”

  21. Your best bet at the grocery store is stuff that is labeled “Organic” and “Non-GMO” from companies that have a bit of integrity. Growing at least some of your own veggies is possible just about anywhere as long as you have a couple of square feet. It can be vertical, in pots, bags, or whatever. If you have access to the Internet, do the research about the companies that you buy your food from. For example, I will not buy Silk no matter what the carton says, but I will buy Nutiva.

  22. felarry says:

    True that just because it says organic does not me it is.

    Likewise, just because one yoke is darker that the other does not mean it is more nutritious. Color is not science. Science would be having data showing vitamin & mineral content.

  23. darren says:

    Barbara, good info but what is the solution? I don’t have the means to grow my own food. What is the answer? Everything is tainted as far as I know. Nothing is really pure anymore. Even your chicken feed has bad stuff in it…

  24. As far as I know there are only a few pasteurized shelled eggs available as it is a relatively new process. They are normally stamped indicating the pasteurization process.

    Shell eggs can be pasteurized and are now available at some grocery stores.

  25. dustin says:

    How Come Noone Is Bringing Up The Fact That A USDA Organic Egg Is Pasturized Whereas The Homegrown Egg Isnt? This Alone Could Account For A Slight Change In Color. I Would Love To See The Difference In A Pastuerized Egg Vs Unpastuerized Egg.

  26. mira says:

    I only saw eggs that beautiful burnt orange in Italy. I live in the Bay Area
    I get my eggs at the farmer’s market, they say organic but now this confirms they are not free range. Does anyone know where i can get free range in SF?

  27. ... says:

    Not saying I disagree, just saying there is no picture of a non-organic egg from the store. I have noticed almost the same difference in color between certified and non-certified that I see here!

  28. “What’s the big deal about orange yolks? Besides being a coveted color, orange yolks are an indication of a well balanced and highly nutritious diet. A few things factor into the making of an orange yolk: xanthophylls, omega-3 fatty acids, and meats.”

  29. I LOVE this article because it’s rooted in real science. Finally, someone who I like in the blogoshpere. In my blog, The Damien Zone, I expose the entire concept of the “organic” culture as pure nonsense. One needs to know the meaning of the word organic — but it seems that nobody does.

  30. James says:

    Thanks for the article. Can you please tell us what the implications are for the difference in color of the yolk? Without this information, it is not clear why we should care.

  31. Brian Stetson says:

    This is easy people. Why can’t we get thousands of people to sit across grocery stores and pass out information. I mean if this is difficult, then when they declare martial law and go house to house and start taking your guns it’s going to be real tough on you. I think time for talk is over and time for some action. So someone please tell me if they think if one week you hit one grocery chain and the next wee another. We need a little more action and a little less talk.

  32. The shell color is not the issue, Cindy. I was just pointing out the difference. The problem is what’s inside ;)

  33. Rachelle soule says:

    Thank you for all this information and hopefully with social media we can inform and reach as many people who care and will continue to share so we can make a difference. It is hard to stay optimistic but it is necessary and perhaps we can be able to support more and more small farmers, ranchers , etc. who return to the natural ways. It make a difference just recently with subway putting that plastic ingredient in their bread…. Success from social media to change that ridiculous practice ( we hope and will see)

  34. El3737 says:

    Juan, It sounds like Petaluma poultry is engaged in fraud. I wonder if the agreement you were forced to sign would hold up in court? (…although who among us has the money for expensive lawyers to find out?) Have our laws deteriorated to the point where companies engaged in fraud can protect themselves (or at least punish whistle-blowers) simply by getting a signature on some self-serving,right-to-unethical-activity form???

  35. Persio says:

    Loved how your scientific experiment of your bird eating the homegrown yolk validates what you said. That is exactly how science works.

  36. Cindy Johnston says:

    While I agree with much of this article, I’ll point out that the color of the shell means nothing. Different varieties of chickens produce different colored eggs…(and how many varieties of chickens are there) so the color of the egg shell should not be used as a good comparison unless you are comparing a specific variety of chicken and their eggs. Some chickens produce blue-ish or green-ish eggs…doesn’t mean anything is bad or off about them.

  37. Karen Scribner says:

    At the third Heirloom Seed Festival ( last September in Santa Rosa, Calif. I heard Courtney Pineau speak. She is the assistant director of the Non GMO Project. She told us that their verification will prove a food is not GMO. Anyone can buy GMO seeds and grow them with organic methods and call the food non GMO. Anyone can submit their food to them for nonGMO scrutiny to be verified.

  38. Leslie says:

    Interesting article, I too try to get range free, and organic. I’m wondering if Monsanto too is bringing in their agenda to the table. Google “Bilderberg” group, they want to wipe out most of the population and vaccines and foods are the way to do it.

  39. Juan says:

    I worked for Petaluma poultry in Northern California. We raised about 1/2 million broilers. They were marketed as “organic” and “range fed”. They were not range fed and the feed came from the same feed mills that provide feed for the other chicken operations in the area. We were forced to sign papers to never divulge anything about the operation and to never speak to reporters.

    I don’t trust anything “organic” unless I grow it myself.

  40. Mike says:

    This is a very serious problem and, due to advances in the understanding of the entire (not simply DNA) physical plants or animals (now going all the way down to the molecular physics levels) labeling is becoming less useful with time, although still better than nothing at all. I am with Barbara (thanks, Barbara, for your continued great efforts)–either control the produce yourself or obtain it from someone you trust. Go to backups like USDA Organic if you must…refuse other produce as often as possible. Vote for and work for/with people, plans and programs that change the system or open up ‘real’ organic alternatives and eliminate the others…and share the information as widely as sensible to do so. It’s all about the science–the evidence is in–and it’s all to date,if done properly, on ‘our’ side.

  41. B. Talbert says:

    The juices that are on the market now that have aspartame in them do not have to be labeled as such and I am sure some parents feed them to babies and do not know. This is probable just the beginning of non-labeling certain ingredients so that we cannot call GMO plasmids an ingredient. They are so slick and remind me of the old “snake oil salesmen”. I try to be careful of all that I eat but it isn’t easy. Eating has become fraught with danger due to the collusion of big corporations and our government.

  42. Tina says:


    Years ago, for some reason, I read that some of my favorite tomato brands had been bought by Monsanto. That included: Early Girl.

    So I researched it online, and I found that a company called Symonis (or something like that) owned Early Girl & Better Boy.

    Turned out that Monsanto had purchased Symonis around 12 years ago. And it turns out that they played with more than just soy beans and corn.

    Besides going online to research who owns what now, do you have any tips of doing the same?

    Several years ago, I knew that Botanical Interests were still intact as a seed company.

    What is your news and/or tips on researching? I know you might just say: go online, and that’s fine, but I wonder if there were any new twists to it, that you’ve seen.

  43. nedlud says:

    Great expose Barbara, but probably soon the hucksters will inject something into the egg yolk to make it look more ‘organic’. Just like Sandra’s nice brown eggs she saw at -uhhh- ‘Safeway’. Safe way?!?

    Uf you cannot raise it yourself or buy it from a nearby, KNOWN small farmer, you are being duped.

    Rule of thumb: If you can afford a lawyer, you are a crook. Period.


  44. faith says:

    Excellent article loved reading it, and mostly being informed.keep it up!I had a hunch that this wwas happening.I worry about everything thats going on including the so called organic vitamins we pay an arm and a leg for! Keep us informed as i do appreciate your hard work!

  45. Sandra says:

    Another interesting marketing ploy that I noticed recently… I opened a carton of Safeway USDA AA ‘brown’ eggs at the store to inspect them for cracks. They were such a pretty, uniform brown color. I thought that was strange, because my homegrown eggs aren’t all exactly the same shade. I picked one of the eggs out of the carton – it had a darker brown ring around the middle. You know, like when you dye eggs at Easter and part of the shell gets a double dose of color when you turn it over in the bowl of dye. ALL of the eggs in the dozen were exactly the same, a darker ring of brown around the center. Hmmm. Are they dying the eggs so they can sell them for more $$$ as ‘brown eggs’? They do get more for them.

  46. suss says:

    Say it how it is….. Yeah i stick to the brands i trust ones that havn’t been bought out and even then when an ing. i don’t know i will call the company. I even buy non organic local dairy/meat that i’ve gone out in person and questioned them on their philosophy of animal husbandry what they feed etc. and have found some very good sources. I recently went weston price on my philosophy of cooking and been making my cottage cheese butter etc. and soaking all my grains, legumes et al. its really an eye opener how traditional methods have been lost on the masses hence more osteo tooth decay disease due to lack of nutrients we need. thanks love your articles.