“Organic” Bottled Water? WTF!?

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

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

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? 


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend