Organic or Not? Check the Label

Organic or Not? Check the Label

Many Americans have begun to seek “authenticity” – the quality of being trustworthy, believable, and genuine – in their lives. There’s nothing wrong with that unless, in the process, they are misled by false advertising that causes them to pay inflated prices for products that are “free from” various things that are actually beneficial. Currently these include the chemical bisphenol-A (BPA), which is used to make certain plastics and as an antibacterial agent on metal coatings; and “genetically modified organisms,” or “GMOs.”
BPA used as a coating in canned food prevents botulism and other bacteria-caused illnesses, and its protection of canned goods allows consumers access to more fruits and vegetables, by safely preserving them in cans all year round, and at low cost. Genetic engineering using molecular techniques increases yields, boosts farmers’ income, and reduces the need for the spraying of chemical pesticides.

Because the term “authenticity” connotes different things to different individuals and depends on subjective factors like craftsmanship, worldview, and political and religious beliefs, it is hard to define exactly what people want; what they’re willing to pay for; and in the end, how they make their choices.

Stanford University Business School Professor Glenn R. Carroll, PhD, has studied the phenomenon extensively and has some revealing observations about it, including that authenticity is intrinsically “self-contradictory and ironic,”1 because being genuinely authentic means not drawing attention to it. According to Prof. Carroll, the whole point of being authentic is not appearing to be calculating or grasping, but rather behaving in a way that seems consistent with values that are pure and ingenuous. For example, his research has found that restaurants that want to be perceived as authentic should find ways to get others to comment on their authenticity, but should not explicitly claim it themselves.

Carroll and his colleagues also found that “[a] authenticity seems to buffer businesses against negatives”; thus, as research subjects evaluated restaurants, authenticity tended to trump even negatives like lack of cleanliness. He cites microbreweries as another example of an important negative trumped by authenticity: especially when they first became popular, small, boutique breweries often made products that were objectively inferior (in blind taste tests) to those of the behemoths in the industry, who had both deep expertise and sophisticated technology. But, Carroll says, they “were just trading on the fact that they were small-scale craft producers doing something different. And they didn’t really know how to brew beer. . . But people associated the craft operation with higher quality and certainly with higher value and were willing to suspend a lot of judgment.”

Arguably, the demand for raw (unpasteurized) milk, which regularly causes serious illnesses in numbers far out of proportion to its consumption,2 is a similar example. Other industries and individuals consciously exploit this sort of myopia to portray themselves falsely as more-authentic-than-thou, and with great success. You need look no further than the office of your local “naturopathic doctor” or the shops that sell “natural” nostrums such as herbal supplements. Read More Here ..

Great Article By the NIH….

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