An Editorial on the “Clean 15”

Repurposed from Joe Zwiebach, General Manager of Silver City Food Co-op in New Mexico

Organics and natural foods have been under attack for years now and we may see an uptick in these attacks. We may see a further dilution of the Organic standards as more companies want img_0584to tap that market but the supply chain is limited. This is not far-fetched by any means and surely we’ll see this happen.

Agribiz is depending more and more on heavily pesticide/her- bicide sprayed fruits and vegetables and it is likely we will see regulations relaxed meaning even more use of toxic materials being used on the foods that we eat.

The big businesses are now peddling what is now known as the “Clean 15” – fruits and vegetables that have less toxic residue in the edible portions. Not “none” or “close to zero” but less than the more heavily sprayed foods. We can think about the “Clean 15” in the same way we can think about “Clean Coal”.

We all know that “Clean Coal” is an industry spin campaign and the coal emissions are not clean but less dirty than regular coal use. There is no such thing as Clean Coal and there is no such thing as the Clean 15. Neither are clean and it is an abuse of the word.

We already have been promised that our president-elect will reduce the regulations on the coal industry and we can be sure the same will hold true for Agribiz.

Clean 15 foods are heavily sprayed and while less toxins invade the product, they still have the same effect – or worse – on our environment. Clean 15 preys on selfishness with zero regard of the effect that it has on our environment and the farm and food handlers. It’s lies to, and manipulation of the people, and we expect this to increase.

So what do we do? Well, actually that’s an easy one. Support your Co-op.

It is the Co-ops that have honed everyone’s attention to Organic and healthy foods and lifestyles over all these years. We are the ones that move the business world in a better, healthier and more humane direction.

If you support a better environment, if you support healthy choices, if you support a more humanistic environment for workers, if you support peace and acceptance of all people, if you support your lo- cal community and its impact on the greater good than why wouldn’t you shop your local Co-op as much as possible?

We are not perfect by any means. We still struggle to find the right balance between people and business. We make mistakes. But I will say this without any hesitation: Our Co-ops are better for you, our communities and our planet than any mega-business that is out to get our hard earned dollars. They are simply after market share to boost the earning of their investors. Period.

Albertsons/Safeway, a company I used to admire, is now owned by an equity investment firm who also pursues and owns many huge arms and munitions companies. Walmart is a private firm who exploits communities and workers so that they can fatten their bank accounts by more billions. Kroger stores are geared to return profit to their Wall Street investors.
For those who feel lost after this past election – come home to your Co-op. Take part in your community. Volunteer to causes that make a difference in people’s (and animal’s) lives.

Vote with your dollars. Avoid the mega-corporations that purse those dollars at all costs and that are a detriment to our world and humanity. These are not really hard choices and supporting your Co-op is surely the easiest. Make your voice heard! Your Co-op amplifies it!