Is Refined Food Really Organic?

By Brane Žilavec, May 2012

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9. Summary of the Research

The story of the inception, growth and development of the organic market is a fascinating example of how human beings can bring positive changes to the world against great forces of opposition. But on the other hand there is no time for celebration – there is still a tremendous amount of work to do and many things to improve. In this report I have concentrated on one issue which we need to be more conscious about. I have looked at Organic Refined Foods (see Glossary of the Key Words) from many, but not from all possible perspectives (mainly because of limitations of time and finance). But, I think I have gathered enough evidence to show that we have a serious weakness inside our movement. To my observation all evidence presented in this report is flowing towards one final conclusion:

One of the biggest weaknesses of the organic movement is the existence of Organic Refined Foods, for it is seriously undermining one of the fundamental goals of the organic movement – to produce healthy food which can nourish and sustain the whole human being.

For the word ‘Integrity’ means ‘Wholeness’. And wholeness is the state of being wholesome. It is no wonder that the words ‘Whole – Healthy – Holy’ have the same root.

I hope that the organic movement has enough wisdom and power to become Whole again, as the pioneers of the organic movement were dreaming about and fighting for. If we reach a stage in the organic movement when the word Wholefood is synonymous with Organic and when the word Organic is synonymous with Wholefood, then it will be as it was in the beginning.

Until that happens I cannot do otherwise than to agree – on the basis of the evidence presented in this report of my investigation – with the opinion of one of the opponents of the organic movement who said: "Just don't think that eating organic food will make you healthier!" [1] For the greatest threat to organic integrity is not coming from outside – even I do not deny the existence of opponents of the organic movement – but from inside, from those members who do not understand that we cannot make compromises with the core values and quality standards of the organic movement.

I have even encountered opinions which I can summarize in the following way: "Now when organic food finally became big business we need to give up some of the values from the pioneer stage and get into real business. In the pioneer stage were people just much too impractical and too idealistic." Such an attitude can bring forward even such statements as one, given to defend the purchase of the organic company Green's & Black's by Cadbury: "There is a fine line between ethics and profits. You can have all the ethics in the world, but if you’ve got no profits you have no future." [2]

My reply to such upside down logic is: There would be nothing to sell (and for that reason no profit to make) without the people who started the organic movement in the first place. But they started it out of ideals and ethical values, with little money and against the mainstream profit mentality. Maybe they were unprofessional in many ways, but they were following their own dreams. The origin of all positive changes in society is in new ideas and ideals, never in money itself. Or, as one of the pioneers of the organic movement, Rudolf Steiner [3], pointed out: "Evil can only be conquered by a high ideal… A man without an ideal is weak and powerless. In the life of man ideals play the part of steam in an engine – they are the driving force."

And he also pointed out that "we are losing the power to establish a balance between what we think and what we feel and will. It is urgent that mankind becomes enough aware of an immensely widespread, subconscious tendency which opposes the tendency to establish a tough-minded responsibility for whatever one formulates as a truth. Something can only really become a truth after it has been placed, so to speak, in all kinds of positions, and has light cast on it from various directions – only if one has really suspended judgement for as long as possible. No over-hastily expressed points of view, no over-hastily expressed opinion can be the truth. But the worst thing of all is the unconscious and subconscious lying that contains a quarter or an eight or a sixteenth of the truth. It might even be ninety-eight percent true, but the dynamic impetus of the remaining two percent corrupts the whole thing."

Only high ideals combined with unconditional truthfulness can confront our own weaknesses and overcome them. I hope that there is still enough of such power living among the members of the organic movement – for we will need it in the challenges of the coming times.


  1. The Debate: Is Organic Food Healthier than Conventional Food?, The Ecologist, Feb 2005
  2. Green & Black's is a company producing range of organic chocolate products (see:; Cadbury is one of the leading mainstream producer of the chocolate products (see Statement by Mark Holme, organic retailer and columnist, date unknown.
  3. Rudolf Steiner gave eight lectures on agriculture in 1924 which became the starting point of the development of biodynamic farming.