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We got a number of emails disagreeing with our commentary about the Australian government’s decision to launch a contest to find a new word to describe kangaroo meat – believing that the word “kangaroo” conjures up the image of cute little animals that should be petted, not eaten. The government seems to feel that even though sales of kangaroo meat are up significantly over the past decade, much of that growth is in other countries, and Australians still are reluctant to eat them.

We wrote: Australians not being stupid, we cannot imagine that a new name will eliminate whatever queasiness they may be feeling.

MNB user Tammy Williams wrote:

We eat venison not "deer", calamari not "squid", caviar not "fish eggs", pork chops not "pig chops" and beef stroganoff not "cow stroganoff". So if the Australians want to call kangaroo meat something else to make it sound more appealing, I say "go for it".

Another MNB user wrote:

OK, following your logic, I'm going back to calling food what it is:

Beef is now "Cow"
Pork is now "Pig"

I'm just playing with you, but I do think having another name for it will help sales.

"Cow soup" just doesn't sound very good.

And another MNB user wrote:

Have you ever eaten escargot?

Yes. And would even if it said “snails” on the menu.

Still, not everyone disagreed with us.

One MNB user wrote:

I'm fascinated by the Aussie government's attempt to rename kangaroo meat, to eliminate the stereotype of the animals being cute and cuddly…

One of these days, we're all going to have to remember that our food doesn't come from a styrofoam tray covered in cellophane. It's the law of the food chain -- something has to die (even if it's grass or oats or wheat) so that something else higher on the food chain can eat.

Don't get me wrong -- I am not a hunter (although my father was, who also made sure that we kids learned the value of al life) – I don't eat beef at all, and a good number of nights there's no meat on our table at all. It's just the harsh facts of reality...

Earlier this week, we ran an excerpt from Phil Lempert’s Facts, Figures and the Future, in which he was critical of moves to relax rules about what “organic” means and what synthetic materials can be included in organic products.

To which MNB user Bill Knudsen wrote:

I believe that Phil Lempert was a victim of the propaganda put out by some activists in the Organic community. The lists of ingredients allowed in Organic growing and processing had been established (through) the hearings and consensus building process of the National Organic Standards Board. The court ruling favoring those extremists whose views had not received majority support was reversed through the recent congressional action that restored the standards that have been the basis of the growth of Organic foods.

The court ruling would have prevented the production of many classes of products that require “non-organic” ingredients such as carbon dioxide used to make Organic Sparkling Juices or Organic sodas. The use of “non-organic” ingredients which are not available organically contribute to the substantial increasing growth of acreages devoted to organic agriculture which should be the higher goal of true organic activists.

We asked Phil to respond to this email:

I have long been an advocate for the organic food movement and have made these foods an integral part of my own diet. The “influencers” for both sides of this issue have not swayed nor impacted my thoughts - and frankly I believe both sides are missing the point.

My influencer (and the reason I wake up in the morning) is the consumer. For the consumer who wants 100 percent organic, and willing to pay for it, the products and labeling should be bulletproof and have no synthetic ingredients.

As far as the issue that these regulations just return to the original ones, are we forgetting that the originals took 10 years of compromise until they were approved? And who ever said the original regulations were the best they could have been?

It’s not about the farmer or processors - big or small. It’s about the consumers - what they expect and want from organics. Is it just coincidence that all these discussions take place as the organic segments continue to exhibit much higher growth than conventional products and more companies are trying to get in on the trend?

I think not.

We agree, by the way. Organic ought to mean organic. Plain and simple.

To have it mean something else will eventually kill the segment.
KC's View: