Selling less for less: Wal-Mart’s “organics” might not be

Selling less for less: Wal-Mart’s “organics” might not be-attachment0

Reports from around the country, most recently in the January/February issue of E Magazine and in a press release from The Cornucopia Institute, suggest that Wal-Mart has been playing fast and loose with its organic labeling. A quick cruise through the Super Wal-Mart on Riverside Drive in Asheville appeared to offer confirmation.

In the produce department, a large “organic” sign is displayed over bins of oranges and apples, and it turns out to be like comparing oranges and apples: The oranges are USDA-certified organic, the Jonagold apples are not.

In the dairy case, Stoneyfield Farm plain and French-vanilla yogurt are labled as organic on tags affixed to shelves – but they aren’t organic. And a few cases over, Silk brand soymilk flavors Very Vanilla, Enhanced and Chocolate as well as the house brand Great Value chocolate soymilk are similarly touted as organic – but they’re not.

And over in the pasta aisle, Heartland Penne has a green organic tag. Whole grain, yes. Organic? No.

The Cornucopia Institute is a nonprofit organic-watchdog organization based in Wisconsin. It first discovered and alerted Wal-Mart to the label problems last summer and subsequently filed a formal complaint with the USDA.

- Cecil Bothwell, staff writer

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About Cecil Bothwell
A writer for Mountain Xpress since three years before there WAS an MX--back in the days of GreenLine. Former managing editor of the paper, founding editor of the Warren Wilson College environmental journal, Heartstone, member of the national editorial board of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies, publisher of Brave Ulysses Books, radio host of "Blows Against the Empire" on WPVM-LP 103.5 FM, co-author of the best selling guide Finding your way in Asheville. Lives with three cats, macs and cacti. His other car is a canoe. Paints, plays music and for the past five years has been researching and soon to publish a critical biography--Billy Graham: Prince of War:

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