Following my post the other day on GMOs, I've decided to do a mini blog series on lack of science concerning food. As I stated in the GMO post, there are a ton of misconceptions and anti-science regarding GMOs. Unfortunately the anti-science doesn't stop at GMOs. Another common catch phrase you may have likely seen is "chemical free". I've recently seen this at a local farmer's market at one of the vendors selling fruits and vegetables. Uh...chemical free? What does that actually mean? Let's begin with a dictionary definition of a chemical.
Chemical - "a substance obtained by a chemical process or producing a chemical effect"
In short, everything in the Universe is a chemical of some sort. Water, air, orange juice, milk, doughnuts, etc. To say that something is chemical-free is to ignore the fact that everything is a chemical. I guess that farmers at farmer's markets use "chemical free" signs as a way of advertising their organic farming practices. I assume they are trying to state that they don't use pesticides or herbicides on their crops. That's great, but just use the phrase "organic" instead of "chemical free".
Needless to say, I won't buy anything from "chemical free" vendors. Get the science right and I'll buy your product. Willing or unwillingly mislead the consumer and you've lost my business.