Newman's Own Organics appears to intentionally mislead its customers when, on its website, it uses the USDA Organic seal and the accompanying line "The USDA Organic Seal assures that at least 95% of the ingredients are organically certified" on web pages of products that are not 95% Organic, such as their Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups.
Worse yet, the Butter Cups' product description, on its website, reads: "When organic peanut butter meets organic chocolate the results are Newman's Own Organics Peanut Butter Cups." This would suggest to consumers that their Butter Cups are organic, made with organic peanut butter and organic chocolate. Yet a close look at the ingredients list shows that non-organic peanut butter, and non-organic peanut flour, are used. This is a gross misrepresentation of their product--either in error or a deliberate attempt to trick consumers into thinking their products are in fact certified organic when they are not.
Newman's Own Organics states on its website that its Hermits cookies are "made with organic raisins," yet the ingredients list shows that, in addition to organic raisins, conventional raisin paste is also used. Research conducted by the USDA and Consumers Union, the publisher of Consumer Reports magazine, indicate that grapes (raisins) are one of the fruits with the highest levels of pesticide contamination.
For consumers who wish to avoid pesticide residues in their foods, especially pregnant women and parents of young children, it is important to look for certain ingredients as organic. "To see Newman's Own Organics state that they use "organic raisins' when non-organic raisin paste is used in the same product, is very troubling, especially since high levels of pesticide residues have been found on non-organic grapes, which are used to make raisin paste," says Vallaeys.
Like many others in the organic food industry, The Cornucopia Institute respects the Newman's Own company, of which Newman's Own Organics is an off-shoot, for its generous donations of its proceeds to charity. Cornucopia contacted Nell Newman to bring this issue to her attention and request a meeting, to attempt to resolve the issue. Although the company acknowledged receipt of an e-mail, and stated they would forward it to Ms. Newman, as of press time, Cornucopia has not received a response to their e-mail contact nor to a letter delivered via Federal Express.
To view an image of a company that properly handles organic in its packaging, click here.
To view a screenshot of Newman's Own website, click here.