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No Milk in the USA! Organic Shortage...

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When the food sanctions were announced last year, many Russian bloggers ran to create scandalous headlines and photos showing empty shelves and the threat of inflated food prices. Now, it's my turn to show a small level of panic arising in the markets of the USA. I'm not good at creating yellow headlines for stories, it's simply not in my nature to have a hysterical or panicked mind, even for the sake of ratings. However, I've noticed these signs posted in a lot of local stores, warning that organic milk is running out. The demand in the American marketplace has far exceed the supply, for many reasons. As a result, markets can now charge a premium for this product, but there's a constant debate as to whether the benefits of this type of product outweigh the increased cost. "Organic"...sounds good and healthy, but what does it really mean?

1. "Organic" is a heavily regulated term in the USA, not any producer can slap the claim on its product packaging. The United States Department of Agriculture has strict requirements for "organic" labeling, which simply means the food is grown and processed in accordance with Federal "organic" guidelines. Mainly, such products are free from chemical fertilizers, synthetic pesticides, genetically modified organisms and hormones. Farmers who raise and produce such products must convert their farms to adhere to these practices, and the cost varies depending on the size of the farm. On average, the amount is about $400,000 and some companies who sell organic products to large markets have even offered to subsidize the funding for conversion of farms in rural populations to meet current market demands. Now, the average price for a half gallon of organic milk in my area is over $4.00, almost double the cost of regular milk.

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2. When I read posts in the Russian blogosphere, it seems foreigners have a huge misconception about what Americans eat. I'm completely amazed that people honestly believe Americans are stuffing their faces with hamburgers each day, or standing in queues in McDonald's every night. Where did this stereotype come from? In fact, each time I've ever walked past a McDonald's in Moscow, the lines and crowds inside have been substantially greater than those I've seen in any U.S. location. Many Americans have become more health conscious, particularly in my area of Northern Virginia and Washington, DC where there are a lot of highly educated, younger and high-income residents. I can find any type of organic product in local markets, including beets, useful for yummy borscht. :) For most vegetables, the price for organic and regular don't vary much.

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3. Another product essential to the Russian diet, sitting right on the shelves of all stores - organic mushrooms! The price per pack is $2.49. Each weekend, my neighborhood in Arlington, Virginia also has a small farmer's market, where locally grown organic products can be purchased. Perhaps it's more difficult to find organic products in small town USA, not sure?

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4. There have been no scientific studies which prove that organic foods taste better, or are substantially more healthy. You can search online, and find many studies with nutritional and health data, comparing organic and processed foods. Personally, I'm not a fanatic about food, the main thing is to eat a lot of fruit and vegetables, which I do. I usually buy only organic meats, which are only slightly more expensive (usually $1 - $2). I'm eating this chicken at least two times a week for dinner.

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5. Health, eating, exercise - all of these are personal choices. I don't like people dictating to me what size I should be, which foods I should consume, or whether I should smoke, or even drink alcohol. Almost every human has some vice or addictive behavior in life. Some people destroy their body with carcinogens from cigarettes, others stuff their faces with greasy and unhealthy foods, and some destroy their insides by drowning in vodka every night. Yet the vegans, vegetarians and anti-meat people have been on a rampage in American advertising recently. Just this morning on the way to work, I noticed this poster on the side of a metro bus. The propaganda is sponsored by an organization called "United Poultry Concerns," which protests the conditions in which some chickens live in farming operations. Btw, this organization has even created its own holiday, 4 May - "International Respect for Chickens Day." :))

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6. For the extremely sensitive and eco-friendly, you can even wipe your ass with toilet paper free from dyes, fragrances and bleach. America - a country of choices! :)

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Are organic products in high demand in Russia? I see many comments posted in my journal screaming about processed American foods, but what are the regulations in Russia? Your food can't be completely natural and free from preservatives. I've seen a lot of canned meat, soup and vegetable products in Russian grocery stores which would not have an extended shelf life if they were completely natural. Like here, in the village.
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I think the main reason why Americans are larger than other populations has nothing to do with processed foods. The culprit is our huge portion sizes and sedentary lives. We eat more, and move much less, because almost everyone has cars. As a whole, most Americans are lazier than Russians and Europeans. We don't need to climb a lot of stairs in metro stations or stores. Escalators and elevators exist almost everywhere. We're not forced to walk long distances to reach a store or restaurant and, outside of huge metropolises, parking is easily available everywhere.

What do you think of this organic trend? Do you buy such products?

Comments

( 102 comments — Leave a comment )
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isurok
May. 14th, 2015 02:46 pm (UTC)
ни фига не по-русски написано!
peacetraveler22
May. 14th, 2015 02:47 pm (UTC)
Use google translate! :) https://translate.google.com/
(no subject) - isurok - May. 14th, 2015 02:57 pm (UTC) - Expand
gallon
May. 14th, 2015 02:48 pm (UTC)
The antonym of 'organic' is 'non-organic' or 'mineral'. In other words, any living (or used to live, hehe) tissue is organic in chemical sense. Hence, imho: all this organic frenzy is a hoax. Natural does not mean safe, and vice versa. If one does not use fertilizer it does not mean his crops are cleaner. Moreover, genetical manipulation is sooo coool, it is a tragedy that it is surrounded by prejudice and superstition.
peacetraveler22
May. 14th, 2015 03:19 pm (UTC)
I agree with you. Some of my Russian friends have posted pics of rotten fruits sitting in Russian markets. So, is it better to have constantly spoiled products, or a clean, shiny apple? There have been no studies to indicate the amount of pesticides used cause any physical harm, and I always wash fruits and vegetables before eating them. People in mass society are easily brainwashed, and too lazy to research facts for themselves.
(no subject) - mybmd - May. 14th, 2015 05:13 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - May. 14th, 2015 05:47 pm (UTC) - Expand
justadreamer
May. 14th, 2015 02:48 pm (UTC)
Туалетная бумага без ГМО? Задумался...
peacetraveler22
May. 14th, 2015 03:19 pm (UTC)
Yes, non-GMO toilet paper! :)) Do you have it in Russia? I hate the toilet paper there. It's usually very rough, almost like regular paper, and not soft and cushioned.
(no subject) - justadreamer - May. 14th, 2015 04:23 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - May. 14th, 2015 04:24 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - creaze - May. 15th, 2015 06:53 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - justadreamer - May. 15th, 2015 03:07 pm (UTC) - Expand
onkel_hans
May. 14th, 2015 02:50 pm (UTC)
I never eat or drink anything organic. Mine are exclusively inorganic!!! Nuts and bolts!

There was a wonderful book by Connie Willis "Bellwether" where she ironically describes many kinds of fads.
peacetraveler22
May. 14th, 2015 03:16 pm (UTC)
Yes, these health fads drive me insane! Paleo, Atkins, Cabbage Soup diets....everything comes in and out of trend. The formula for weight control is simple - eat less and move more. For some people, it's just easier than others. They have good genetics and naturally high metabolisms. I'm extremely envious of such people! One of my friends was just complaining to me last night how she is trying to gain weight - eating a lot of sweets, pasta and rich foods, yet not a single pound gained!! I'm the opposite - I must be extremely disciplined and focused to maintain my already curvy and full body.
(no subject) - onkel_hans - May. 14th, 2015 04:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - May. 14th, 2015 04:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
ms_sh
May. 14th, 2015 03:10 pm (UTC)
Europe is crazy about the eco-products too! I think that food should be healthy without any synthetic pesticides, so it's easy to have healthy food here in France where I'm studying. There's a really poor situation in Russia because of Chinese farmers and lack of strong regulations...
peacetraveler22
May. 14th, 2015 03:13 pm (UTC)
So why do a lot of Russians yell about processed and GMO foods in America? Perhaps they're just misinformed? As you correctly state, in Europe and the USA organic and hormone free products are available in most places. So, people have a choice in what they eat and purchase.
(no subject) - ms_sh - May. 14th, 2015 03:18 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - May. 14th, 2015 03:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ms_sh - May. 14th, 2015 03:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
real_marsel
May. 14th, 2015 03:36 pm (UTC)
Thank you, it's interesing.
peacetraveler22
May. 14th, 2015 03:37 pm (UTC)
You're welcome! Nice to hear from you again. :) I hope all is well!
(no subject) - real_marsel - May. 14th, 2015 03:38 pm (UTC) - Expand
sport_health_on
May. 14th, 2015 03:48 pm (UTC)
Thank you, it's interesing
peacetraveler22
May. 14th, 2015 03:53 pm (UTC)
Здравствуйте! Пожалуйста!
south_of_broad
May. 14th, 2015 03:48 pm (UTC)
I personally prefer locally grown veggies, fruits. So much tastier when it's fresh and in season . Also dairy and eggs are mostly local. We only buy meat and seafood in our commissary on the base. I once had an apple for 4 weeks in the hot car. The day I found it under the sit ( I have children, ok)) it was as fresh as the day I had bought it. Pink Lady are banned for life from my kitchen. It's just freaky )
peacetraveler22
May. 14th, 2015 03:55 pm (UTC)
Omg, kids are amazing! Sometimes in my sister's car, I find the most disgusting things between the cracks of her car and seats. :)) This was especially true when my nephew was young and still in the car seat. This contraption was basically a mobile petri dish. :))
andrey_kaminsky
May. 14th, 2015 04:14 pm (UTC)
Что вырастил, то и покурил
In Russia there is no special centralized "organic" business. Fans of "hand maid" cucumbers visit markets. In addition, the gardening is very developed here. People who have a country house often raise their own vegetables. I'm waiting for apple trees, that i planted, will grow up, in order to start making homemade brew. Then I'll grow a beard and will lay naked in the grass as Parry in the "The Fisher King" film:)
peacetraveler22
May. 14th, 2015 04:15 pm (UTC)
Re: Что вырастил, то и покурил
And you think people don't grow their own vegetables in America? Many people have gardens, fruit trees, etc. in their yard. :) Just last week in California, I ate lemons from my aunt's lemon tree. She grows all kinds of stuff there in the sunny weather.
(no subject) - creaze - May. 14th, 2015 05:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - May. 14th, 2015 05:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
oh, you bet! - creaze - May. 15th, 2015 06:55 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - creaze - May. 14th, 2015 05:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
sineglazzka2301
May. 14th, 2015 04:33 pm (UTC)
Half of Russian population grows organic vegetables in their own gardens (dachas, you know:). In Soviet times, this was a need, which has transformed into a habit for elder generation. For some, it's a kind of hobby, and a matter of competition with neighbours. My parents-in-law, who live in a small town, grow almost all their vegetables and berries themselves. What they don't eat, they save for winter, and what can't be preserved naturally, is dried, frozen, pickled, made into jam, juice or syrop. And all this in a climate similar to the middle of Alaska:) We grow sone vegetables, too, but mostly for seasonal consumption (like carrots, lettuce, beet). And barries, of course. We can't go without homemade jams.
As for regulations, they are rather weak here, so we never know for sure what we eat:( Especially in winter.
peacetraveler22
May. 14th, 2015 04:47 pm (UTC)
Everything in America is heavily regulated. :) Sometimes it's good, sometimes it's bad. Many people in the USA also grow and can their own vegetables. Several people in my family do it. I don't have a yard, otherwise I would have a small garden. I remember in the village, seeing all of the potatoes and mushrooms in one of the villager's houses! It was like a whole basement full of potatoes!!
(no subject) - sineglazzka2301 - May. 14th, 2015 04:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - May. 14th, 2015 05:52 pm (UTC) - Expand
qi_tronic
May. 14th, 2015 05:18 pm (UTC)
I always tried to buy organic food when I lived in the USA and Great Britain.
It simply tastes better and more natural.

Here we don't have a stable organic market.
First of all, AFAIK, the're no Russian nationwide organic certification.
Those manufacturers who do certify their products usually do it by German standards.

So here I normally stick to manufacturers or store chains with good reputation who sell "farmers", "bio" or "eco" products.
We also buy German bio-cosmetics and such.

PS.
You can easily find any toilet paper in Moscow including 3-tier, made from fresh cellulose (not recycled paper) and so on.
Of course nobody seek for "organic" or "non-GMO" paper because it sounds stupid.
Russians do not care much about environment but rather on their own health :)
peacetraveler22
May. 14th, 2015 05:49 pm (UTC)
For most of these products, I don't experience any difference in taste. I didn't know that you lived in Great Britain? Where? Did you like it better than life in the USA? I guess my host in Russia is cheap, because the toilet paper in his apartment is very rough. I'm an American princess, and need soft tissues for my butt. :))
(no subject) - qi_tronic - May. 14th, 2015 06:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - May. 14th, 2015 06:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - qi_tronic - May. 14th, 2015 08:39 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - May. 14th, 2015 09:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
creaze
May. 14th, 2015 05:44 pm (UTC)
Things like salted cucumbers or smoked fish are probably perfectly free of any conservatives, HMO and stuff — this is the traditional way to conserve them.

Personally i don't like them, i prefer meat and vegetables made though maybe with some chemistry, but the one that i get totally fresh. And still, it goes off in a matter of days.

Oh, and that organic chicken on your pic — i think i've bought it once. In an 'organic only' market.
peacetraveler22
May. 14th, 2015 05:50 pm (UTC)
Maybe you bought it at "Whole Foods" or "Trader Joe's"? These are the two largest organic, "health food" store chains in the USA. But this chicken is available almost everywhere, you don't need to go to a specialty store to purchase it.
(no subject) - creaze - May. 15th, 2015 07:03 am (UTC) - Expand
theodorexxx
May. 14th, 2015 05:54 pm (UTC)
1. In Russia product's price tells whether the food is organic or not.
2. I think some people buy organic because they can afford it and wanna show they care about their health
3. How can reduced fat milk be labeled organic?
4. Why do products have 2 price tags? Okay it might be useful to know the price per quart and per half gallon. But what about beets?
5. Product's packaging is the same in USA and Russia
6. Vegans suck
peacetraveler22
May. 14th, 2015 06:19 pm (UTC)
I don't think product packaging is the same. I've never noticed anything marked "Organic" or with any type of Federal certification in Russia. I could never be a vegan or vegetarian, esp. the former. It's too restrictive of a diet, and I like food too much.
(no subject) - theodorexxx - May. 14th, 2015 06:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - May. 14th, 2015 06:45 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - theodorexxx - May. 14th, 2015 07:00 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - theodorexxx - May. 14th, 2015 06:36 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - May. 14th, 2015 06:40 pm (UTC) - Expand
creaze
May. 14th, 2015 05:55 pm (UTC)
BTW, i loved that 'sovok' lable on that canned pork. It's sarcastic.
peacetraveler22
May. 14th, 2015 06:17 pm (UTC)
Canned meat scares me! :)

Edited at 2015-05-14 06:18 pm (UTC)
(no subject) - creaze - May. 15th, 2015 07:07 am (UTC) - Expand
genka8
May. 14th, 2015 06:40 pm (UTC)
I remember seeing an "organic light bulb" in a store.
peacetraveler22
May. 14th, 2015 06:44 pm (UTC)
How is this possible? :)) What makes it "organic?"
(no subject) - genka8 - May. 14th, 2015 06:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
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