USDA officials said they were guarding against organic food fraud. Congress decided they need help.
Published: January 29, 2019
Category: Organic Fraud, The Organic & Non-GMO Report Newsletter
New regulations on blocking fraudulent “organic” food imports into the U.S. went into effect in late December, as part of the 2018 Farm Bill.
America imports organic corn, soybeans, and coffee from 100 different countries—but recently many of those shipments have proven not to be organic. Millions of pounds of “organic” corn and soybeans were actually from conventional sources, the Washington Post reported last year; the deception is likely due to middlemen eager to reap the organic premiums.
Although the USDA says it was enforcing the policy through its National Organic Program, blatant chinks in the armor exist. Farmers hire their own inspection agencies, inspections are typically announced in advance, and testing for pesticides is the exception, not the norm.
“This reform will level the playing field for American farmers,” said Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis). The new legislation stipulates that imported organic foods must show a certificate of origin, appropriate destination, and name of the agent who verified it as organic. In addition, the USDA must develop a tracking system for the organic certificates and create annual reports to specify enforcement efforts.
Source: Washington Post
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