By Barbara H. Peterson

Farm Wars

Organic is organic, or is it? It would seem that it is all a matter of perspective when one takes a stroll through the mountains of documents on the FDA and USDA websites.

The word “organic” is fast becoming a high-dollar money-maker for corporations smart enough to jump on the bandwagon and start marketing their products as “made with organic ingredients,” or “certified organic.” Even Monsanto is taking advantage of this burgeoning market, and people naïve enough to believe that what we have traditionally thought of as pure, organic food, is still that way, are being duped.

It makes perfect sense, however, in a Machiavellian sort of way. Flood the food supply with poisons, then lead people to believe that the only safe choice left is USDA Certified Organic. Then buy up the organic companies one by one, and start changing the “organic” rules from the inside out via the bought and paid for government agencies so that you can reap the profits from those trying to escape the poisons. 

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So let’s take a closer look at just what the word “organic” refers to according to these government agencies. You might be surprised at what we find. The fact that the very agencies (FDA and USDA), which are supposed to be protecting our organic food supply, are intensely active in its adulteration will become apparent.

What is “Certified Organic?”

In the USDA Certified Organic Program, there are four categories established for labeling purposes:

Section 205.301 establishes the organic content requirements for different labeling provisions specified under this program. The type of labeling and market information that can be used and its placement on different panels of consumer packages and in market information is based on the percentage of organic ingredients in the product. The percentage must reflect the actual weight or fluid volume (excluding water and salt) of the organic ingredients in the product. Four categories of organic content are established: 100 percent organic; 95 percent or more organic; 70 to 95 percent organic; and less than 70 percent organic. (Organic Labeling Preamble)

If an item is labeled 100% Organic, then it is supposed to contain nothing but organic ingredients and processing aids that are organically produced.

Products labeled Certified Organic must contain 95% organic ingredients.

Up to 5 percent of the ingredients may be nonagricultural substances (consistent with the National List) and, if not commercially available in organic form pursuant to section 205.201, nonorganic agricultural products and ingredients in minor amounts (hereinafter referred to as minor ingredients) (spices, flavors, colorings, oils, vitamins, minerals, accessory nutrients, incidental food additives). The nonorganic ingredients must not be produced using excluded methods [GMO], sewage sludge, or ionizing radiation. (Organic Labeling Preamble)

70-95% Organic, labeled “Made with Organic Ingredients,” can contain the kitchen sink in the 5-30% of ingredients that are not organic. They can be grown with pesticides, but without the sewage sludge, and cannot be irradiated or genetically modified organisms (GMO).

70% Organic, which is labeled “Contains Organic Ingredients,” can contain the kitchen sink along with the pesticides, sewage sludge, irradiation, and GMOs.

Organic Labeling Preamble Chart

A Matter of Perspective

Let’s say that you have a product that you think is better than its conventional counterpart because it has “certified organic” ingredients. So you buy it and think that you are getting healthier because you are eating mostly good, pure food. It is the word “organic” that led you to believe this. However, if an organic ingredient is mixed with conventional ingredients, doesn’t it become polluted? It’s like putting gasoline in a glass of pure water and charging a premium for that water because it only contains 30% of the contaminant. 30% contamination is probably better than 100%, but would you want to drink it? The whole glass of water is poisoned due to the gasoline, yet the companies selling this product would like you to believe that because it contains pure water it is good. They also know that they can charge you premium prices for that flawed perception.

The FDA and USDA would like us to believe that using “certified organic ingredients” somehow makes the poisons they allow in the other 30% okay, and companies charge through the nose for these adulterated products. It is a matter of perspective. Just how much gasoline in your water are you willing to tolerate just so you can live under the illusion that you are consuming a more pure product? And just how high a price are you willing to pay for it?

Organic Sleight of Hand

“USDA Certified Organic” is a big business, and the deception is great. With a bit of sleight of hand, by simply moving a word around a bit, you have a complete subterfuge.

(1) Use of “Organic” in Product Names. The NOSB, State organic program (SOP) managers, certifying agents, and a large number of individual commenters strongly recommended that USDA prohibit use of the term, “organic,” to modify an ingredient in a product name if the ingredient, itself, is not produced organically. The examples offered were “organic chocolate ice cream” and “organic cherry sweets” in which the ice cream and candy are at least 95 percent organic but the chocolate and cherry flavoring is not organically produced.

We agree with commenters that such product names can be misleading and would be a violation of section 205.300(a). In the examples, the word, “organic,” precedes the words, “chocolate” and “cherry,” and clearly implies that those ingredients are organically produced. The chocolate and cherry flavorings must be organically produced to be used in this way. If the product is at least 95 percent organically produced but the flavoring is nonorganic, the word sequence must be reversed or the word, “flavored,” must be added to the name; e.g., “chocolate organic ice cream” or “chocolate flavored organic ice cream.” A sentence has been added to section 205.300(a) to specify that the term, “organic,” may not be used in a product name to identify an ingredient that is not organically produced. (Organic Labeling Preamble)

So, you see how “organic chocolate ice cream” means that both the chocolate and the ice cream are organic, but if you reverse two words and make it “chocolate organic ice cream,” the chocolate is not organic. Or if you are really adept at manipulation, you can actually manufacture “organic beer” with conventional hops, label it “USDA Certified Organic,” and charge a premium price for it. See the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances, which includes hops as one of the approved non-organic substances allowed in USDA Certified Organic products.

Government Treachery

If the FDA is here to help us instead of make money for its corporate owners, don’t you think this agency would demand that labeling be perfectly clear? If the USDA is here to help us, why would it have allowed the gross pollution and treachery that abounds in the National Organics Program (NOP) to have even gotten a foothold in what was the last bastion of safety left in our food supply?

ORGANIC IS ORGANIC. When it is mixed with non-organic ingredients, it is no longer organic, and no amount of agency double-talk will change that. When you play word games to trick people into purchasing something because they see the word “organic” on the label because you have led them to believe it is safe and better than the rest, all in the name of corporate profits, then organic or not, you are one of the bad guys. Period.



Neotame can be included in USDA Certified “Contains Organic Ingredients” without labeling. As I stated in a previous article “USDA Certified Organic’s Dirty Little Secret: Neotame,” Neotame does not have to be labeled. Period. Why? Because the FDA approved it as a general purpose sweetener, and it is designated as a “flavor, or flavor enhancer.” And since it is not a protein hydrolysate, the following applies:

If the flavor consists of two or more ingredients, the label either may declare each ingredient by its common or usual name or may state “All flavor ingredients contained in this product are approved for use in a regulation of the Food and Drug Administration.” Any flavor ingredient not contained in one of these regulations, and any nonflavor ingredient, shall be separately listed on the label. (FDA)

A document taken from the FDA site even states that pre-approval studies indicated that Neotame is not safe, yet it “was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for general use in July 2002” (Wikipedia).


Enter Sweetos. Sweetos is Neotame. It was created for human and animal use.

EnSigns Health Care Pvt Ltd and The NutraSweet Co USA have recently launched ‘Sweetos’, a cattle feed sweetener. Sweetos has been developed with neotame, a high intensity sweetener.

Amino acids based sweetener Neotame is 8,000 to 13,000 times sweeter than sugar and is a patented product of the NutraSweet Co USA. Ensigns is one of the leading manufacturers of Sweetos, low calorie sweeteners for the food industry. Together the two companies have launched this sweetener to be added to cattle feed. (Business Standard)

Organic livestock feed uses a similar type of labeling system as human food.

(c) Products sold, labeled, or represented as “made with organic (specified ingredients or food group(s)).” Multiingredient agricultural product sold, labeled, or represented as “made with organic (specified ingredients or food group(s))” must contain (by weight or fluid volume, excluding water and salt) at least 70 percent organically produced ingredients which are produced and handled pursuant to requirements in subpart C of this part. No ingredients may be produced using prohibited practices specified in paragraphs (f)(1), (2), and (3) of §205.301. Nonorganic ingredients may be produced without regard to paragraphs (f)(4), (5), (6), and (7) of §205.301. If labeled as containing organically produced ingredients or food groups, such product must be labeled pursuant to §205.304.

(d) Products with less than 70 percent organically produced ingredients. The organic ingredients in multiingredient agricultural product containing less than 70 percent organically produced ingredients (by weight or fluid volume, excluding water and salt) must be produced and handled pursuant to requirements in subpart C of this part. The nonorganic ingredients may be produced and handled without regard to the requirements of this part. Multiingredient agricultural product containing less than 70 percent organically produced ingredients may represent the organic nature of the product only as provided in §205.305. (GPO Access)

As in human food regulations, the non-organic ingredients in “Made with Organic Ingredients” and “Contains Organic Ingredients” can contain the kitchen sink.

The question must be asked: Do we really want our cattle to be consuming feed that is made with a neurotoxin? How will it affect the animals that eat it? And just how will eating these animals affect us?

Endless Compromise

When did we learn to accept anything less than the best? When did we acquiesce to inferiority? To the endless compromise of our food supply? Why do we think that we somehow deserve to be robbed blind, lied to, poisoned for profit, and cheated every step of the way by the corrupt corporate system that acts like a black hole – sucking in everything and giving nothing back in return except abject misery? And why do we seem to like it? Why do we keep going back for more instead of ridding ourselves of these pariahs? Do you really want to know why? Because we have been trained that way! That’s why we accept “organic beer” made with conventional hops, and USDA Certified “contains organic ingredients” food items that have been poisoned with the likes of Neotame. We accept these things because we have been conditioned to think that this is somehow okay. It’s time to change our way of thinking.

It’s time to stop bowing to multi-national corporations who may or may not be what we think they are. Know your food producer. Know what you are eating. Become a food warrior, and fight for the right to not be deceived. Know how to read labels and figure out what the ingredients really are. The more people that wake up to the reality that we are surrounded by people who couldn’t care less about our health and are actually out to do us harm as long as they can profit by it, the better our chances of survival. Make no mistake about it. We are in a food war, and that is a war for our very lives.

© 2010 Barbara H. Peterson

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70 Responses to “The USDA’s Organic Deception”

  1. 70% Organic, which is labeled “Contains Organic Ingredients,” can contain the kitchen sink along with the pesticides, sewage sludge, irradiation, and GMOs.

  2. Ron Powers says:

    You have stated that the USDA allows Neotame to be contained in the ingredients of Certified Organic products. The official list of allowable ingredients (CFR 205.605) from the USDA does not contain the product Neotame. If there is another list that the USDA has Neotame on it, I sure would like to see it.

  3. AntiLieGuy says:

    Whered my first comment go?

    Theyre poisoning us to keep us stupid about the approaching Planet X and the chemtrails that hide it every day globally and the coming extermination of America on 10-10. News here:

  4. Organic Questions says:

    It would be interesting to hear what they say. Thanks Barbara

  5. I was thinking the same thing, Organic Questions. I will need to speak with a toxicologist that I know to find out when and if certain things like antibiotics, wormers, insecticides, etc. actually dissipate.

  6. Organic Questions says:

    I am new to the whole organic idea and the reason I ask is I am trying to figure out what is really organic and what is being advertised inappropriately. I read the links above but I am still trying to tie it together. Is there a point where the soil created with that manure and those wood chips would be considered for growing organic foods?

  7. I would not personally use the stuff. I have horses, and use diatomaceous earth as a wormer, and haven’t needed antibiotics in years. The manure I use is clean. For info regarding what the USDA considers okay, I would look at “§ 205.601 Synthetic substances allowed for use in organic crop production” located HERE, then check the allowable inerts list at

  8. Organic Questions says:

    Interesting article. One question for you. In making compost for the soil, if there was a farmer who was using raw horse manure fresh from a stable where the stable owners admit that things like antibiotics are used on the horses to combine with wood chips from landscapers who could not tell if the materials come from owners who sprayed their plants with herbicides or pesticides, would you consider this farmer to be an organic farmer?

  9. Serena says:

    Wow. Didn’t know the corporate fingers went this far into organic food. It keeps getting tougher and tougher to find good organic processed foods. I guess I’ll keep striving for homemade food. Thanks for the info!

  10. @Julide: Here is a link to the FDA site:

    This area addresses the “flavor” designation.

  11. Julide says:

    Many thanks for the great in depth article and website. I was looking for some information on that most insidious term ‘natural flavors’. It’s been popping up on all sorts of ‘organic’ products. Would Neotame fall under that category? Perhaps you have written about that somewhere else?

  12. lastcapitalist says:

    Great Article. I feared this would be the case. I came upon this article trying to get some clarity as to what GMO’s are allowed in “USDA Organic” labeled food, and what I find is even more upsetting.. Fantastic.. When will we put people before profit?

  13. Bogdan Bilyk says:

    Charlee, you pseudo something or other, but it can’t be genius. Culling of the herd means that people should be aware of what they are putting into their bodies and they should make a major effort to FORCE their represemntatives to ensure delivery of safe foods. If they refuse to do that, they get what they deserve – fake foods – and that is what I meant by culling. Those that do care and buy what is healthy will survive and they will be the ones who force the corporations to provide healthy choices, because the corporatuions survive by selling products and if people do not buy their garbage, they will not make money. So…, people have to stand up for what they want and believe in or otherwise the products they do get fall to the level of the lowest common denominator JUNK and if they do not insist on health, they will not get health, they will die off (culled) and those who do survive and thrive will be the only ones left to make choices for health, not junk.

  14. Charlee,

    Obviously you have not read my other articles and comments in which I advocate strongly for individual food sovereignty, and that means taking responsibility for knowing what you eat, who it comes from, and caring enough to grow at least some of your own food. This article focuses on exposing the USDA. The fact that you are so appalled by my supposed lack of addressing food responsibility in this particular article is actually, well, appalling.

  15. charlee says:

    Wow. I am not sure where to be most appalled here.

    That the government has allowed big business to water down the organic standard? No, that is the status quo. Being appalled is a waste of energy.

    Am I most appalled by the writer laying this all on big business rather than spreading the responsibility where it belongs – which includes local organic farmers who charge an arm and a leg for there “organic” food while paying their help a pittance or using “interns” who work free.

    Or is it more appalling to read the comments that decry others as”stupid” or “culling the herd” because they are somehow not smart enough (read as smart as me, the genius poster/poseur”) to eat right.As defined by…

    We live in a world where we get to choose between bad choice A and bad choice B, occasionally with maybe-not-as-bad choice C. A huge part of the population can afford only what is on sale. What fills the bellies and quiets the complaints. Period.

    Organics – however defined – have become a bourgeois commodity and farmers large and large are quite content to appeal to that population.

    The only way to ensure healthy food is to grown your own. This is not as easy as it sounds.

    In order to produce a world where we depend on others to provide basic life needs, where we are required to trade 8 hours of back breaking labor for a pittance, instead of spending 4 hours of casual hunting and gathering or horticulture, was to take away our ability (land, water, time, energy…) to take care of ourselves.

    The next “green” revolution that is required would be taking back our lives from those who are arrogant enough to think they ought to decide for us.

  16. Guillermo says:

    Pacahel, i totally agree. I have gone from obese to complete health through smart nutrition and lifestyle. I am constantly trying to show people that ask me how I did it, the importance of knowing what you buy the message is lost. Sometimes I feel like I am a conspiracy theorist or lunatic by the subtle reactions I get.

  17. jersey girl says:

    Hi Barb:) I was referred to your article through Dr Mercola’s newsletter. Of course the FDA isn’t looking out for us. They are looking out for their corporate cronies’ profit margin. Your article is a great service to those that haven’t figured that out yet which is the majority of the public. Unfortunately, the majority of the public aren’t reading either you or Dr Mercola. But people like me that do, spread the news to those that don’t ;)

    Having to read through every label on every product is a chore which makes a trip to the store take twice as long as it should. But read the labels we should. If it says “organic” and it’s not 100%, don’t be a sucker to the deceivers, PUT IT BACK.

  18. Bogdan Bilyk says:

    You can’t force wisdom on idiots. If people are too stupid to know about and care for their own health, that is their supid problem. The culling of the herd of idiots.

  19. Pacahel says:

    Most people have no clue, nor do they really care. Most people can’t be made to pay attention or investigate because it is laborious to them, as well as unfamiliar territory. Can I really expect to distract someone from watching the super bowl or the prime time thrillers to tell them their food is being poisoned and manipulated? Not only will they have a hard time understanding, but they are about to watch 10,000 commercials that suck them into ignorance.
    How can anyone expect to make a large positive impact under these conditions. I understand that hope is a motivation to many who are supporting the movement to make food safe and accessible, but the cultivation of ignorance starts early and it includes conditioning people to believe authority. Good luck, but it seems to be a very steep uphill struggle. I don’t want to say that it is a losing battle, but only a handful of the many people I know actually give half a hoot, which is really sad.

  20. GamesOfChance says:

    Funny how the USDA National Organics Program people are policing Internet sites for accuracy whilst allowing genetically engineered food into our food chain. In fact, they unilaterally claimed it to be ‘generally regarded as safe,’ at the urgings of Monsanto, without the benefit of independent human health studies. For the last 17 years the US population have been treated no differently than industrial beef, stuffing them with man-made un-natural fodder their biology is ill-equipped to process. So too with us people! Consider the sky-rocketing incidences of childhood allergies, obesity, diabetes and cancers coinciding with genetic engineered products being incorporated into our food supply. Sure, the overseers of organic practices may be righteously defending their turf, whilst their associates across the hall are literally contaminating our environment and health with all the genetically modified garbage they allow to be spread across our once fertile, wholesome and wonderful landscape. Now, welcome to the mono-culture world of Monsanto.