Organic & Local “whenever possible”? Your favorite Restaurant is likely lying to You. ~ Vic Shayne

Via on Mar 17, 2010

organic whenever possible restaurant restaurants

Do restaurants lie about serving you organic food?

Boulder, Colorado is recognized by many as the capital of good health. Our city is consistently in the top ten of healthiest, happiest and fittest people in magazine polls. And people love to eat organic foods in Boulder, with more than 10 food stores offering organics to serve a little city of less than 150,000 residents (including university students). Plus, there’s a relatively new trend: local restaurants advertise that they serve organic foods.

But I’ve found that this is a big fat lie!

My wife and I went to Bacco Trattoria, an Italian restaurant in North Boulder, primarily because they advertise on their menu in bold letters that they serve

“organic ingredients whenever possible.”

I noticed this same statement on several other Boulder menus, and was encouraged to see the trend in serving healthful foods. But hold your horses. It seems to be just lip service to fool health-minded people into eating crappy food. This isn’t just deceptive, it’s criminal. It’s like telling a diabetic that your food contains no sugar, when you know you’re lying.

When the waiter came to our table, I asked him, “What on tonight’s menu is organic?” He told me that the beets are organic, then tried to change the subject, to tell me they have locally grown something-or-other.

I steered the conversation back on track and he told me that they can’t get organics this time of year. Another lie. No less than one mile away is a store that sells a variety of organic produce and dry goods. Three miles away is an organic grocery store that contains every fruit, vegetable and meat product that are all certified organic. And the most profitable Whole Foods store is literally up the road. Restaurant delivery trucks are, or could be, full of organics.

So for this restaurant to claim that it offers organic ingredients “whenever possible,” but not to have any in the kitchen, is more than a disservice.

Why the big deal?

Non-organic food is poisoned with pesticides, synthetic fertilizers and herbicides. Non- organic meats are tainted with steroids, hormones and antibiotics. Lying about your food means poisoning your patrons.

My advice: When a restaurant advertises that it offers organic ingredients, ask the waiter what ingredients are organic as you’re sitting there waiting to be seated. And if you have enough moxie, when he tells you that there’s nothing, then get up and head for the door after telling him you came in for the healthful food they’re advertising.

vicFor the last 20 years, Dr. Vic Shayne has been involved in nutritional research, both personally and professionally. He’s written several books on the importance of foods and how their nutrients differ from isolates found in vitamin pills. Health is not something we can take for granted.

Visit his website to learn more.

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13 Responses to “Organic & Local “whenever possible”? Your favorite Restaurant is likely lying to You. ~ Vic Shayne”

  1. Kelly says:

    Thanks, Vic. Posted link on my FB page. Hope you are well;-)

  2. Kevin says:

    It’s just like DOLE method of marketing. DOLE doesn’t care about organics it’s merely a profit/marketing game for them.

    It’s unfortunate but the motto of life needs to be caveat emptor (buyer beware). Good for you for asking and pushing the matter – politely of course – after all the waiter probably doesn’t know the difference. If enough people push this matter things will most likely change.

    Good article!

    • Vic says:

      I completely agree, and the Dole reference is a good one. Dole, the kings of heavily sprayed produce, suddenly find themselves in the organics business!

  3. Lenny G. says:

    Brad, I believe you're missing the point. In two words this can be summed up: FALSE ADVERTISING. A restaurant owner and staff knows nothing about organics yet advertises that they use organics merely to appeal to a market segment. As the author said, this amounts to no less than lying and cheating.

    Your comment on the Boulder bubble is absurd. Why make such a comment?

  4. Eric says:

    Start pushing for transparency and this sort of thing will go away.

    Support establishments that tell you exactly where the ingredients came from and how they were grown.

  5. Randall Smith says:

    It's tough to hear about restaurants advertising organic and not delivering, esp. in a community like Boulder. Use the online service Yelp! to get the message out there. Or, ask the local A&E paper to do a review of the suspect place. I am fortunate to have eaten at two restaurants in the Omaha, NE metro that use local farm-to-table organic ingredients in their recipes, and to know the farmers that deliver. A little more pricey, but you get what you pay for..

  6. illona says:

    A foul new trend in the restaurant industry is to lie on the menu about sourcing locally. Here in B.C., we've been noticing several farmers being credited with supplying restaurants when in reality, the restaurant has not been buying a single squash from the farmer. It's up to restaurant employees and farmers to be diligent and not allow this to happen. Is there a website we could start to oust this sort of behaviour?

  7. [...] ORGANIC food whenever possible. Most of the vegetables and fruit have been treated with insecticides, which contain residuals in [...]

  8. Ben Atkin says:

    Do you offer an upgraded experience for people who live in Boulder, in some way? It always annoys me when local businesses give me the exact same thing I could get if I was living somewhere else. Though it might make business sense in spite of annoying me. :)

  9. Ben Atkin says:

    Yes! It happens all the time to celiacs, who eat at restaurants after being assured that everything is fine, only to realize they've been "glutened" when they get home.

    I agree with Vic. They deserve pitchforks when they do this kind of stuff.

  10. Vic says:

    This is a good point. It shows that there's a deeper problem — a disconnect between health and the food we eat. Restaurant employees and owners who do not recognize this connection are poisoning people every day.

  11. elephantjournal says:

    Amen, H.

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