Friday, February 4, 2011

"Organic" Tostitos?

TOSTITOS® Natural Blue Corn Restaurant Style Tortilla Chips

The other day I asked my husband to buy some chips to go with a chili I had made. In an attempt to please me he bought a bag of Tostitos that were labeled as "made with certified organic corn", but didn't have the USDA organic official label on. This made me suspicious so I went to read the ingredients listed : organic blue corn, expeller pressed sunflower oil and sea salt. So no preservatives or other ingredients with mysterious names, good. But why then were they labeled as "made with certified organic ingredients" but didn't have the organic label? The reason is pretty simple. In order to have the organic label a product has to be made with at least 95% or more organic ingredients. If a product has at least 70% of organic ingredients they can claim to be "made with" organic ingredients but cannot display the USDA organic logo. So there is a difference. So I started looking into all the other brands that sell organic tortilla chips, and I noticed that many of them do not display the USDA organic logo. I think the problem might be the oil that they use. For example the brand "Garden of Eatin", that I can usually find at my local jewel store, has two kinds of blue chips: the baked blue chips and theregular blue chips. The baked ones are 100% organic and display the logo, the multigrain don't. Here are the ingredients of both chips:

Ingredients of the baked chips: Organic blue corn, organic brown flaxseed, organic soy grits, organic canola oil and/or organic safflower oil and/or organic sunflower oil, sea salt. 

Ingredients of regular chips: Organic blue corn, expeller pressed oleic safflower and/or sunflower oil, sea salt.

As you can see the only difference is that in the second one the oil is not organic.
It can be very tricky to choose the right product. I am not saying that one product is healthier than the other. They are all chips so after all they are not the best food you could eat and that's it. But if you are eating organic to have a better impact on the planet than you should really pay attention at what they sell you as organic and what really is organic. Bottom line, if the logo isn't there it isn't 100% organic.

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