The organic food craze has infiltrated grocery store aisles and the dinner tables of conscientious eaters, but is it really all it's cracked up to be? As its popularity grows, critics are questioning whether we can trust this bio-friendly brand of food farming. Organic Food: Hype or Hope? examines an industry whose future could be tainted by fraudulent labeling and lackluster accountability measures.
Consumers who choose to buy organic must pay a higher premium price. Many of them are willing to do so, because they're sold on the promise of a more natural product free from artificial ingredients, harmful additives or toxic pesticides. The information contained in the film might prove distressing for these organic enthusiasts.
There is currently no test that can accurately distinguish between organic foods and others which were grown through conventional farming techniques. As a result, there is no guarantee that the organic products in your local grocery store live up to the lofty claims on their labels. Can we trust that these foods are sufficiently devoid of contaminants?
Pesticides decompose slowly, and their traces can linger in soil and groundwater for years. Recent studies of organic products, such as those featured in the film, showed an alarming degree of pesticide contamination. In one instance, an organic fennel farmer in Germany is shocked to learn his product contains unacceptable trace levels of pesticide. His fennel is used in the production of baby food.
One of the film's central concerns involves the notion of sustainability. Consumers aren't the only ones feeling the financial squeeze of going organic; bio farming companies must undertake more cautious and costly measures as well. As they struggle to meet increasing consumer demand while adhering to strict regulations, the industry is searching for more efficient and cost-effective ways of doing business.
In theory, the film finds great benefit in the production and consumption of organic food. The switch to organic can curb environmental pollution, the frequency of common health concerns and the rampant abuse and neglect of animals. Organic Food: Hype or Hope? spotlights a series of concerns that could derail the integrity of the movement before it becomes the norm.
Directed by: Torsten Mehltretter