Organic Restaurants Are Ripping You Off & There’s Nothing You Can Do About It

organic or notIf you haven't been to a restaurant that brags about its organic, local, or sustainable menu yet -- you will. It's one of the biggest food trends of the past few years, and with more and more people growing concerned about pesticides in their food, the environmental impact on faraway imports, and GMO foods, it will only get bigger.

As a big fan of this movement, I'm willing to pay a little bit extra for healthier food options (although in some cases, local can be less expensive), and I'm also willing to dine out more frequently at restaurants that serve up organic food as part of their philosophy. Which is why I'm more than a little miffed about an article that highlights the deception by some chefs and restaurants when it comes to organics.

Some of your organic food you're dining on is actually good old-fashioned factory farmed, sprayed with pesticides, yuck.

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As the author points out, even though in some states restaurants do have to prove an organic track record, many more places simply peel off the labels and present their food as something it totally is not. Most likely, charging a higher price for it while they're at it. Other restaurants don't realize that there are rules they must follow -- like providing invoices for their organic food, and not allowing it to "co-mingle" with non-organics -- when they make the claim on their menus.

All of this means that you can't trust the food you're putting in your mouth. Or you can only trust it as far as you trust the owner and/or chef. Do you know the chef at every restaurant you enjoy? I don't, so I usually go by reputation in hopes that a restaurant doesn't want to lose that golden rep to save a few pennies at the farmers' market.

It really bums me out that there are enough dishonest people out there running businesses that this is a "thing" rather than a one-time event featured on Dateline. Of course if you really want to be sure where our food is coming from, ask. Inquire about the name of the farm where they get their meat and produce, and check it out. As someone who already has to grill the waiter about my food due to Celiac, the last thing I want to do is say, "Do you have an invoice for this organic pork chop?" But if it means enough to me -- and my health -- I'll ask.

In the meantime, I'll just be a lot more suspicious about my favorite joints, and hope I'm getting what I'm paying for. Bummer.

Do you ask where your food comes from at restaurants?

 

Image via ilovebutter/Flickr

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