Are Organic Standards in Jeopardy? Watchdogs Say Yes

By Rebekah WilcePR Watch | Report

When organic activist Alexis Baden Mayer of the Organic Consumers Association was arrested after leading a “spirited protest” against watering down organic standards last month, she wasn’t at a rally on the street or in a park. She was at a meeting of the National Organic Standards Board, a 15-member advisory board with statutory authority to review what substances are allowed and prohibited in organic agriculture — usually a relatively staid affair.

Organic foods and products are popular among consumers in the United States. It’s the fastest growing sector of U.S. agriculture, with nearly $35 billion in sales as of 2012, and growing at 15-20 percent per year.

Organic foods are certified not to contain or be produced using genetically modified organisms (GMOs), pesticides, antibiotics, growth hormones, chemical fertilizers, or sewage sludge, and to contain as few synthetic or non-organic ingredients or treatments as possible. Organic farming methods build healthy soil, sequester carbon, and focus on humane treatment of animals.

Consumers buying organic products rely on standards to ensure this is the case.

But the growing organic market presents a temptation for business interests in the organic industry to look for ways to lower costs and gain bigger market share, including by lowering standards.




Shop CleanWell Hand Soaps