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Stephan’s Dirty Dozen — 12 Organic Products to Avoid in 2018

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It is that time of year again. Once a year the Environmental Working Group puts out a list of food it considers too dangerous not to buy organic versions of. From fringe fake news sites to CNN, the internet runs wild with manufactured hysteria. This list is essentially fruits and vegetables that you don’t peel, and they completely ignore the fact that a child would need to consume 1508 servings of strawberries in one day for pesticide residue to be a problem.

While organic food is overall safe to eat, there is increasing amounts of evidence that it is beginning to become disproportionately involved in recalls. Something the Environmental Working Group, with its close financial ties to corporations selling organic food, doesn’t mention.

So instead of trying to scare readers about pesticide residue that doesn’t actually cause harm (though organic farming uses pesticides too), here is my annual list of organic products that can actually make people sick. (You can read my 2017 list here.) Some (like numbers 8 and 12) already have.

  1. Organic Milk

From New York State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball:

April 04, 2018
Pasteurized Whole Organic Milk Non-Homogenized produced by Pelleh Farms Inc…. is being voluntarily recalled due to improper pasteurization. Proper pasteurization heats milk to effectively eliminate all pathogenic bacteria, such as Listeria and Salmonella… The product was sold under the name Bethel Creamery.

According to the FDA:

Pasteurization of milk is an effective means of preventing outbreaks of foodborne illness, including tuberculosis, brucellosis, salmonellosis, scarlet fever, and listeriosis. It was first used in the United States more than 100 years ago and has been widely used for more than a half-century….

2. Organic Flour

https://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm602489.htm

From the FDA:

March 23, 2018
King Arthur Flour Company is voluntarily recalling a limited quantity (6,300 cases) of Organic Coconut Flour (16 oz.), after testing revealed the presence of Salmonella…. Salmonella is an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems.

3. Organic Granola

According to Food Safety News:

June 16, 2017
New England Natural Bakers is recalling its branded organic muesli and granola products sold under the Evoke Organic and Millville brands across the U.S. because of possible contamination with Listeria monocytogenes.
The Greenfield, MA, company did not name the ingredient or the supplier, only reporting that “the company has been notified by an ingredient supplier that an ingredient used in these products has the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes….”
The products subject to recall are New England Naturals Organic Muesli, Evoke Organic Classic Swiss, Evoke Organic Athlete Fuel, and Millville Fruit & Nut Whole Grain Granola.

4. Organic green beans

From the FDA:

November 7, 2017
Nature’s Touch Frozen Foods LLC. of Front Royal, Virginia is voluntarily recalling…. Organic Fine Whole Green Beans, due to potential contamination with Listeria monocytogenes…. Listeria monocytogenes is an organism that may cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, Listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.

5. Organic Pesto

From the FDA:

April 26, 2017
Our Local Bounty of Rogue River, Oregon is recalling…. Organic Basil Pesto with Watercress, because it has the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, Listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.

6. Organic trail mix

https://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm563916.htm

From the FDA:

June 22, 2017
United Natural Trading LLC in Edison, NJ, has joined the list of companies recalling food because it contains ingredients from Hudson Valley Farms Inc., which found Listeria monocytogenes in its facility…. which impacts several brands distributed by United Natural Trading, including Nature’s Promise, Woodstock, Market Basket and Wholesome Pantry….

7. Organic tarragon

From the FDA:

October 16, 2017

Spicely Organics…. is recalling 0.4 oz. Organic Tarragon…. because it has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella, an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems.

8. Organic coconut

From Food Safety News:

March 20, 2018

The CDC is working with several states to investigate an outbreak of Salmonella illnesses…. FDA posted a recall notice from Natural Grocers for its branded “Coconut Smiles Organic” because of Salmonella contamination….. Six illnesses have been reported in connection with the Natural Grocers coconut….

9. Organic oats

From Food Safety News:

July 18, 2017
Garden of Light Inc., doing business at Gluten Free Solutions…. has joined the list of companies recalling food because it contains ingredients from Hudson Valley Farms Inc., which found Listeria monocytogenes in its facility. Hudson Valley provided an ingredient to Garden of Light, which manufactures the recalled oats for Blue Marble Brands.

10. Organic Chicken

https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/e1b37c28-902c-48af-bcd7-dd15defba6bc/078-2017-labels.pdf?MOD=AJPERES

According to the USDA:

June 24, 2017
Overhill Farms…. is recalling approximately 54,630 pounds of chicken bites products that may be contaminated with extraneous materials, specifically bone…. This is a health hazard situation where there is a reasonable probability that the use of the product will cause serious, adverse health consequences or death.

11. Organic cherries

From Food Safety News:

August 23, 2017
….organic, sweet, pitted cherries packaged under Walmart’s Great Value brand are under recall after producer Sunrise Growers Inc. found Listeria monocytogenes during routine testing…. Symptoms can include high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea.
Although healthy adults may suffer only short-term symptoms, listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women. It often causes serious, sometimes fatal, infections in high-risk groups. People at higher risk include children, the elderly, cancer patients and anyone with a surpassed or compromised immune system.

12. Organic supplements

From USA Today:

April 3, 2018
Federal drug regulators issued their first-ever mandatory recall Tuesday to a company selling several products containing the herbal supplement kratom and contaminated with Salmonella.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said it issued the order because Triangle Pharmanaturals of Las Vegas refused to cooperate.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said last month that the kratom Salmonella outbreak was linked to 11 hospitalizations among 28 people who caught the strain.
The FDA is advising consumers to discard the products that are part of the mandatory recall, which it says include, but isn’t limited to: Raw Form Organics Maeng Da Kratom Emerald Green, Raw Form Organics Maeng Da Kratom Ivory White, and Raw Form Organics Maeng Da Kratom Ruby Red….