The recent spike in sales (registration required) of organic pet food was a predictable upshot of the Menu Foods recall. But as Samuel Fromartz points out on organic food blog Chews Wise, don’t expect this ecokibble boom to last: In situations like this, people almost always eventually return to the convenient, cheap products they relied on before the given food scare. The market for organic pet food will continue to grow for the same reasons it was growing pre-recall, he says, but this recent quick burst of interest won’t be sustained.
These are great points, but given Fromartz’s awareness of the risks of a centralized food supply, I’m surprised he doesn’t mention the perils of buying mass-produced organic food instead of the locally made chow. As last year’s spinach scare revealed, the same big distributors often process both conventional and organic products at the same plant. While the organic spinach at Natural Selection Foods wasn’t contaminated (it had been kept sufficiently separated from the conventional variety), who’s to say that’s the case everywhere? All it takes is a little shared equipment, a few parts per million of a toxic chemical, and poof—your Whole Paws is suddenly no safer than the cheap-o corner store brand.
And just imagine what would happen if conventional manufacturers—like, I don’t know, Menu Foods—took this scare as a cue to trot out their own new organic brands. As Stringer Bell would say: same shit, new name.