retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Reuters reports that Elsa Murano, under secretary for food safety for the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), has said that consumers should be careful about consuming organic foods.

"We must remember that bacteria and parasites are also all-natural," she said at a symposium for researchers and government officials. "Foods that have fewer or no preservatives can pose a challenge to consumers if they don't know what all-natural implies and how these foods should be handled and prepared."

Among her other statements, according to Reuters:

"As a microbiologist, I know that preservatives are used in foods for a reason ... to preserve food against the growth of microorganisms," she said. "Perhaps there's not the evidence to show that one (method of growing food) is safer than the other .... When you don't have those preservatives, you have to be aware of the fact that that's going to cost you something. That's what I think is the challenge for the food industry, especially those folks who produce organic foods and all-natural foods and so forth, to make sure they produce them and process them in such a way that it will not reduce the safety of those products.”

Murano’s comments came as the USDA has mandated new labels that more clearly define what is organic and what is not.
KC's View:
This goes into the “you just can’t win” files. But Murano makes a good point, and one that retailers and manufacturers need to be cognizant of.