Alaska salmon not organic, should not be labeled as such

Posted: Tuesday, May 06, 2003

I would like to address people attempting to redefine the word "organic" with regard to Alaska seafood.

As far as I know the word organic means that producer of the product controlled the environment. The products which were raised in that environment could then be guaranteed to be free of the many contaminants or the pollution normally found in other products.

If you attempt to claim that a free-roaming salmon is "organic," you are attempting to claim that you have in fact controlled that salmon's environment and therefore claim to guarantee it to be free of manmade pollution.

Everyone knows that there is currently no way to guarantee that these free-roaming fish do not in fact live in polluted waters or eat polluted food. Can we stamp the word "organic" on a steak if the source grazed on an open range which has polluted areas? Is it right to call that steak "organic" when you really don't know where it lived or what it ate?

Some parts of our oceans are polluted; therefore, can anyone guarantee that a free-roaming salmon did not spend any time in these locations? Could you just walk up to a stranger on the street and truly claim that they were only raised on organic foods if you had no idea what they ate or where they lived?

I think any truthful person would agree that you would be lying if you attempted to make this type of claim, but that is what some are attempting to claim as they attempt to call wild salmon "organic."

In order to make this type of a claim, a person must create a new definition for the word "organic." The new definition would have to mean that there are no requirements for determining what an organic item is. This new definition would then allow you to stamp the word "organic" on anything from a mercury-laced Lake Erie fish to your the neighbor's cat just because, in your opinion, they were "wild."

If that were the true definition of the word "organic," it would be meaningless and, therefore, would not command a higher price in the market place.

This kind of mindless redefining of the word "organic" would in fact be a lie, and I would like to know why anyone would want to lie to make a dollar. That is what this comes down to, lying to make a dollar, as you would then be able to market a seafood product as being something it was not. The people of Alaska are asking "is the money worth the wild, organic lie?"

Don Johnson


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