Fradulent Organic Imports Prompt Industry Call to Action
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has heard testimony from grain industry representatives and lawmakers about the status of the organic industry, as it prepares to draft its next farm bill. Sen. Pat Roberts claims "uncertainty and dysfunction have overtaken the National Organic Standards Board and the regulations associated with the National Organic Program," while Kenneth Dallmier, president of Clarkson Grain, noted, "it is unreasonable to accept that grain being imported into the U.S. as organic has been adequately validated."
This testimony was in response to recent reports that millions of pounds of shipments of questionable organic products have reached U.S. ports. Since a report was published in The Washington Post last month claiming three major shipments of corn and soybeans were sold as organic despite evidence to the contrary, USDA has decertified two of the companies involved in the shipments. Three Democratic senators asked for increased enforcement of organic import standards, and the Organic Trade Association set up a task force to propose remedies.
Industry officials have proposed a few ways for detecting fraudulent organic imports, including adding USDA staff at overseas ports deemed to be high risk, using electronic tracking devices that would follow a product from farm to customer, and raising the penalties for companies caught cheating, reports Orlando Sentinel. Full Story
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