Dear Lifehacker, I have been buying Aldi's 'Just Organic' Butter, but on closely reading the label the ingredients don't seem to be specifically organic based on the ingredients list. 'Just Organic' seems to be just the branding. How can we be certain that this isn't misleading packaging yet again? Thanks, Butter Madness
Butter picture from Shutterstock
As we've noted in the past, organic food labels can be confusing and are occasionally willfully misleading -- Aldi itself has been busted in the past for claiming its Just Organic Honey was sourced from organic honey on Kangaroo Island (in reality, less than 10 per cent of the honey came from this region).
Organic butter primarily consists of organic milk from cows that have free access to pesticide-free pasture. It may also contain higher levels of vitamin E and omega-3 fats, depending on the country it was sourced from. Try comparing the container's label to a regular butter brand to see if there's any difference in omega-3 content -- if everything's identical, your suspicions may be warranted.
A 'true' organic product will carry a certification label from one of several Australian health bodies approved by the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS). You can find a list of recognised organic certification logos here.
If you do feel like you've been ripped off, you can contact the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC). To register your complaint, either pay a visit to the ACCC's website or give them a call on 1300 302 502.
On a final note, the jury is still out on whether organic produce is actually better for you. Last year, an in-depth Annals Of Internal Medicine study found that there were no notable differences identified between organic and “conventional” foods when it came to nutritional benefits or health risks.
"Despite the widespread perception that organically produced foods are more nutritious than conventional alternatives, we did not find robust evidence to support this perception," the report noted.
That said, organic farming can be beneficial to the environment and you certainly deserve to get what you pay for -- even if it is a placebo.
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