The stressful act of supermarket shopping

Yesterday, the Soil Association in Britain, a highly inflluential charitable organization, announced that in a year, they will only certify food that is air shipped into the country as organic if it also met fair trade standards. Since some thought that they should stop certifying any imported fresh food as organic, this looks like a compromise on their part. Even if on the surface organic and fair trade don’t have much to do with each other, in the realm of fuzzy good-feeling consumerism they are certainly related.

I don’t think that enough study has been done yet on just how greener locally produced food is though. As I’ve written about here before, food produced in cold to temperate climates with short growing seasons requires a lot of energy. It’s probably beyond the scope of organizations like the Soil Association at this point in time to try to address complicated issues like that though. Far easier to place restrictions and requirements on far-flung producers with little or no political power.

Buy organic, support fair trade. Avoid trans-fats and simple sugars. Avoid additives and chemicals and extraneous packaging. Hope there are no harmful bacteria. Oh yes, and worry about the rising cost of food too. I used to love going to the supermarket. I still do mostly, but these days that enjoyment is tinged with a lot of stress.

(See also: should the supermarkets pre-edit our choices? Personally, even with all the thinking and decision-making that’s required I’d rather make my own choices.)

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