“Organic” Bottled Water? WTF!?

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/rockylubbers/5846037299/sizes/l/in/photostream/">Rocpoc</a>/Flickr

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Oh my sweet Sarah Palin with a pancake. Companies are now marketing their bottled water as organic. Via Ecopreneurist, I learned about Llanllyr Source bottled water in Wales. Llanllyr touts its water as historic and organic, because its water source has been used for centuries and comes from beneath organic fields. According to the Llanllyr site, the land above the water source:

has been accredited organic by the Soil Association for many years, but more than that it has never been farmed any other way. Our sources are entirely sustainable. We have Organic Farmers and Growers accreditation for both our line and processes…

As a former fact-checker, I doubt that the land has NEVER been farmed. But regardless of the land’s history, just because the soil there has recently been classified as “organic” doesn’t mean its organic-ness rubs off on the water below it. As both Ecopreneurist and others have pointed out, by definition anything “organic” must contain carbon. Water has two hydrogen molecules and one oxygen molecule: no carbon. The USDA, in fact, specifically exempts water from organic certification. And although Llanllyr is smart enough not to actually put the word “organic” on their label, they’re obviously trying to make that association, even going to far as to have servers call the water “organic” when offering it to reporters.

Despite the greenwash, “organic water” may be here to stay. There’s Totally Organica flavored water, which boasts USDA-certified organic flavor essences. And then there’s Highland Spring water, drawn from an “organic source” beneath organic hills in Scotland. Can an “organic” section of bottled water in your local Whole Foods be far behind? 

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You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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