Earlier this month, a farmer in Eugene, Oregon made national news when it was revealed his organic crops weren’t actually organic. He’d simply lied about them and gotten away with it for a long time—long enough to make an estimated $200,000 in additional profits. Lawsuits against him have already been filed, but the ordeal has justifiably upset many conscientious consumers. If we can’t trust a label that organic or pure natural products are really what they claim to be, how can we ever be sure? The good news is, this dramatic ordeal should drive government agencies to scrutinize products more closely. It was an embarrassing debacle that will hopefully bring change. But it still revealed that conscientious consumers have to be all the more prudent when making purchases.
The show Portlandia, also set in Oregon, satirized the people who ask the origins of everything they buy; two characters weren’t just content knowing a chicken entrée was organic, they had to be sure the bird was local, had to learn its name, and had to see for themselves the farm where it was ethically raised. No one needs to be as thorough as that, but to ensure we’re really getting pure natural products, we need to know and trust their brand name well. The history and mission of a business often reveal sincerity, that it’s not, like that farmer, just environmentally focused for the money. Testimonials and press can similarly validate a product’s authenticity, but awards and titles granted by the government often reveal the most genuine companies. In this day and age, you might not be able to trust everyone who claims to sell pure natural products, but with a little research you can know if those claims are valid.