The organic industry watchdog the Cornucopia Institute called Sara Lee out on its Earth Grains bread campaign. Check out the fact sheet created by the Institute.
Corporations like Sara Lee mislead well-intentioned green consumers and exploit the current boom in the production and marketing of organic and healthy food.
The single feature that Sara Lee ran with and turned into a huge greenwash campaign, is the production of Eco-Grain™. The Eco Grain farmers use satellite imagery that reduces their fertilizer usage by 15%. This high tech way of farming wheat is known as “precision agriculture” or “variable rate technology” that helps apply precisely the right amount of fertilizer every time to maximize yield and grain quality.
However, the Cornucopia Institute, points out that the production of Eco-Grain™ differs very little from most conventional grain producers who use petroleum-based fertilizers, pesticides and fungicides, and have little in common with certified organic farmers.
Sara Lee's Earth Grains is not organic because Federal law prohibits organic farmers from using any synthetic fertilizers and toxic pesticides that are commonly used on wheat fields, including the Eco-Grain™. The Cornucopia Institute’s press release states, “One such pesticide typically used in conventional wheat production is 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D), which EPA researchers have correlated with numerous birth defects of the respiratory and circulatory systems, as well as defects like clubfoot, fused digits and extra digits. Other research has linked the use of toxic pesticides on wheat fields to increased cancer mortality rates.”
Organic farmers enrich the long-term health of their soil and food by using natural fertilizers, compost and crop rotations, instead of damaging the earth and contaminating food with toxic chemicals.
The whole campaign as it stands now, still makes some broad sweeping claims about saving the earth. Well-informed consumers who compare the Eco-Grain™ growing methods to organic farming will see for themselves that there is no comparison. Sara Lee is still using toxic chemicals that poison the earth, our food and water supply.
Perhaps if the folks who invested the money in the satellite precision technology for Eco-Grain™ had invested it in certified organic production, they might have saved a few dollars, had a bigger impact on the earth and green consumers.
Shame on Sara Lee and corporations like it, for making the mistaken assumption that eco-savvy consumers would so easily be fooled by fancy and aggressive advertising and marketing tactics.