She had just come back from the park where two mothers were discussing a recent vacation to a resort in Puerto Rico. One told the other that there, for the first time, her toddler was given Jif peanut butter. He loved it. Prior to that he had only had Whole Foods peanut butter, which (one might guess) pales in comparison for a 3-year-old palate.
When the boy came home and asked for more Jif, his mother told him it wasn’t available — that it was “Puerto Rican peanut butter.”
Wrapped up in that phrase is all of the arrogance and class snobbery of the organic-food mafia. If these moms haven’t come to your neighborhood yet, just wait.
Another mom, a class parent at a preschool in Westchester, told me she was being harassed by one of the other mothers to issue a new rule: Only organic snacks would be allowed in the classroom.
A mom in Washington tells me that she was unable to participate in a number of nanny-share agreements she looked into because the other parents were so crazy about not having their children come into contact with anything non-organic. One mother she met was convinced her child’s ADD became worse when he was exposed to non-organic food. A stray Goldfish or Cheerio might set him off.
But sometimes these parents are not even worried about their own child’s well-being.
They’re worried about yours. The organic foodies are not satisfied with controlling their own family’s dietary habits, they want to “evangelize,” says Julie Gunlock, author of “From Cupcakes to Chemicals: How the Culture of Alarmism Makes Us Afraid of Everything and How to Fight Back.”
The pressure on parents to use only organic food is, she says, an “outgrowth of helicopter parenting. People need to be in control of everything when it comes to their kids — even the way food is grown and treated.”
“Moms feel guilty,” Gunlock adds. They can allow themselves to think that even if they’re not perfect at something else, at least they feed their kids the best food out there.
The organic-food industry is thrilled by this attitude. But let’s be clear. Organic food does not necessarily mean better. It’s a term that’s been co-opted and manipulated into a billion-dollar industry by some of the biggest food companies in America. Read the rest of this entry »