Monday, June 11, 2007

USDA may relax standards for organic foods

The agency is considering a list of 38 nonorganic spices, colorings and other ingredients that would be allowed in products it deems 'organic.'
By Scott J. Wilson, Los AngelesTimes Staff Writer, June 9.

With the "USDA organic" seal stamped on its label, Anheuser-Busch calls its Wild Hop Lager "the perfect organic experience."

"In today's world of artificial flavors, preservatives and factory farming, knowing what goes into what you eat and drink can just about drive you crazy," the Wild Hop website says. "That's why we have decided to go back to basics and do things the way they were meant to be naturally."

But many beer drinkers may not know that Anheuser-Busch has the organic blessing from federal regulators even though Wild Hop Lager uses hops grown with chemical fertilizers and sprayed with pesticides.

(Picture: Shawn Moebius loads beer bottles at Milwaukee's Lakefront Brewery, which has been making beer with 100% organic hops since 1996. By comparison, less than 10% of the hops in Anheuser-Busch's two new organic beers are actually organic.)