Letter: "Natural" Foods

Hi Carol,
I'm reading your September issue with great interest — it is a subject dear to my heart, and by and large, I think you've done a great job. I particularly liked "Zero Waste in Your Town", "The Softer Side of Bamboo," and the green ideas articles. Just a couple of comments:

The article on Horizon's switch from organic to "natural" products neglected to mention that Horizon has been under fire from organic consumers in recent years because of failure to meet organic standards, specifically, use of factory farms that do not provide pasture grazing for cows. I suspect that Horizon's new focus on "natural" has more to do with avoiding having to meet strict organic standards than with making their products "easier on the pocketbook." A similar issue has arisen with personal care products; a number of companies have been criticized for their so-called organic lines that are not completely organic. Many are dispensing with the word "organic" in response. The Organic Consumers Association (http://www.organicconsumers.org) is an important source of information for all these issues. Currently, they are calling Whole Foods Markets to task for carrying mostly "natural" foods instead of organic. Most consumers are unaware of the level of pesticides and other toxic chemicals in products on the market. Going organic is both a healthier and a greener choice.

In the article "100 Ways to Green the Earth," I would take issue with "50: Use the microwave instead of the oven." Microwaves can leak radiation, and they destroy the nutritional value of food by damaging the molecular structure of vitamins and other nutrients, creating essentially dead food. Our health is suffering because of extensive microwave use. Better to recommend eating vegetables, fruits, nuts, etc. in their natural raw, living state as much as possible. And I would add, "Buy organic!"

Best to you,
Peggy Kornegger