The Alliance For Natural Health

The Pulse of Natural Health Newsletter

Stay informed about what is hot in Washington and the states about natural health

Fake Organics Flooding US Market

14

The feds are definitely aware of the problem, but they aren’t doing a thing about it. Action Alert!

Organic corn exports from Turkey to the US have exploded. Compared to the same six-month time period in 2015, the dollar value of organic corn imports from Turkey during the first six months of 2016 increased by 500%. Organic soy imports from Turkey in the same period increased by an astounding 3600%.

Unfortunately, there’s a very good chance that these millions of bushels of corn and soy aren’t actually organic at all, and federal regulators—unlike their counterparts in other countries—do not seem concerned in the least.

Turkey’s organic industry has major problems. Between 2012 and 2015, several reports—from respected bodies such as the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture, Eurofins Scientific, and our friends at the Cornucopia Institute—found widespread fraud and unapproved production methods in organic products, either directly from Turkey, or perhaps routed through Turkey after originating elsewhere.

One Turkish certifier of organic products, ETKO, has been singled out by some countries, notably Canada and the European Union, for its fraudulent certifications, and has “decertified” the organization—meaning that ETKO-certified organic products are no longer accepted as organic.

Why are these regulators acting while US regulators do nothing?

There are reports that the measures taken by the EU and others have simply led some exporters to ship to markets that are more likely to accept their products—like the US. The USDA’s Organic Integrity Database includes four pages of ETKO-certified operations, with no mention of their decertified status in other countries.

The USDA knows full well that there is a big problem with organic products coming from Turkey. A 2016 USDA report lays out the problem:

As organic production and consumption in Turkey grow, so too do the concerns about fraudulent organic products and lack of inspections. According to a EUROPOL report, some Turkish companies have been involved in relabeling or repackaging products as organic and bringing the counterfeit products into the European Union, even though the products do not meet the organic standards.

Since they acknowledge knowing about the problem, why is the USDA so unconcerned about the threat of boatloads of fake organic grain coming into the US, which will disrupt, displace, and may even bankrupt US organic producers? This could be more crony gamesmanship: we know that federal regulators tend to favor large producers, and are often indifferent to the effect of their actions on small producers. There is no evidence that the USDA even likes the idea of organic food!

Whatever the reason, this is unacceptable. If the USDA won’t do its job, we must embarrass them into doing it.

Action Alert! Write to the USDA and tell them to investigate the supposedly “organic” grain coming from certifiers who are known to be fraudulent, and from major exporters like Ukraine and Turkey that are suspected of widespread fraud. Please send your message immediately. A copy will be sent to both Congress and the White House.

 

Other articles in this week’s Pulse of Natural Health:

Surgical Device Spreads Cancer Inside Women

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  • Robert Cruder

    The “organic” standard specifies methods, not results. There is no chemical test by which one can be certain that a product is “organic” with the exception of a few specific pesticides that are used on specific crops in specific areas.

    The situation is similar to identifying what is “kosher” if one cannot trust the label. Was that prayer cloth from the TV preacher a real prayer cloth?

    Since the benefit of “organic” depends entirely on faith, the consumer loses nothing for faith in a “fake organic” rather than a “real organic”.

    There is a loss for traditional “organic” producers whose production costs are higher and need that faith-based price premium.

    My heart breaks for them.

    • mymarkx

      I try to make an effort to know my local organic farmers and their growing methods, rather than trusting in a label. For me, it is important to know that no carcinogenic pesticides and chemical fertilizers are used to grow my radioactive produce. I don’t believe that this is likely to save me from any of the diseases of civilization, but I do have absolute faith that labels certainly won’t.

      • Robert Cruder

        Sir! I wholeheartedly agree. “Organic” is a marketing label to justify a price point. Do be aware that the so-called “diseases of civilization” were documented in ancient Egypt and China. Plants don’t want to be eaten and generate toxins far more carcinogenic than those man-made. Areas with high natural radioactivity appear to display greater, not lesser longevity. There really is a lot remaining to be learned and it may not be helpful to recreate an idealized past.

        • Stephen Marsden

          I won’t call you stupid but I will say I believe you are blowing smoke. “Plants don’t want to be eaten” – The Bible tells us otherwise. Common sense tells us otherwise.

          • Robert Cruder

            Arguments which start from the bible are ridiculed throughout the world. Fables do not constitute facts. Common sense is apparently not very common in some parts.

            Plants have evolved a variety of toxins to kill or at least reduce the fertility of animals that eat them. Otherwise they would have died out and only the “smarter” one’s remain. It is easy for me to look backward and type as if plants have intent but all I really see are the winners, not how they got there.

            Look up the Ames test that us used to determine toxicity/mutagenicity. Virtually all of the really toxic chemicals exist in plants. I’m evolved to eat onion and garlic and plants containing salicylates. Any of those would kill my cat whose liver is not evolved to detoxify them (because mouse livers are so effective at doing so).

            Does the bible say otherwise? 😉

    • Average Joe American

      “No chemical test?” Millions upon millions of people can attest to the fact that organic food tastes better and is more nutritious (I for one find I even eat less of it). Truly organic vegetables and fruits have more color and flavor. Organic coffee tastes richer and does not give me the jitters (because my body is not reacting to pesticides first thing in the morning). Years ago when I smoked and first switched over to organic tobacco, the first thing I noticed was that the jarring “nic hit” was no longer there, that “nicotine buzz” turned out to be a chemical (including pesticide) hit. Almost no one can fail to notice the full-bodied flavor difference between free-range eggs, chicken, and beef. And not only do grass-and-organic-fed chicken eggs taste better, they look totally different when being prepared: firmer shells, darker yolks (practically orange) which actually stand right up in the frying pan. Let’s not even get into the various things they’ve found in commercial milk and dairy products.

      You say “chemical tests” on commercial vs. organics only turn up a few pesticides, which (wait for it) is the whole point, isn’t it? That tests show inorganic pesticides some of us wish to avoid consuming. And which is not to say that existing tests are comprehensive (I note you do not cite sources for this information). Who can say if further tests might be developed which would tell us more? It’s hardly in the best interests of Big Agri to reveal the results of more comprehensive testing methods, even if such existed. But logic tells us crops grown in pesticide-soaked, petro-chemically fertilized, depleted soil are not going possess the same characteristics as those grown in natural soil.

      The differences between organic and commercial foods, to anyone who’s lived organic, is very far from “faith-based.” “My heart breaks” for anyone who hasn’t discovered this for themselves.

      I have to wonder what brings you, “heartbroken” Mr. Cruder, to ANH? Are you heeding some inner call to re-educate us poor, misguided believers as to the health benefits of artificially raised food? Since most of the modern world lives on commercially created garbage, why should care about a few fools who hang out on websites such as this one?

      • Robert Cruder

        One can only use “logic” if one starts with a knowledge of the facts. If one starts with a predefined conclusion (belief) and invents the facts that would have been required to reach that conclusion, the result is religion or politics or fiction but is not “logic”.

        Any product that is not measurably different is not factually different regardless of one’s belief about where it came from. If two products are fed to animals with no statistically different results then the two products are functionally the same regardless of how one might imagine one set of animals to be happier.

        The real problem here is that “true believers” accept no source other than the very industry which profits from the belief. That is exactly what constitutes a cult.

        Ask why you become so emotional when exposed to an argument which disagrees. That always happens in cults.

        • Average Joe American

          Eating clean, natural food is neither religion nor politics, rather common sense.

          “Any product that is not measurably different” does not preclude the possibility of an underdeveloped system of metrics (or bias, or intentionally slanted published results). If I’m selling “tested” water which contains no measurable amount of chemical toxins, people may still get cholera, which is bacterial. The risk is in what you don’t test for, or don’t recognize as a threat.

          Another example: Ruminants (cows, for example) can be raised on natural grass or GMO grains (corn) and legumes (soy). The results between the two methods of feeding are, according to the USDA and the FDA, statistically the same–you have cows. But the difference is that the corn- and soy-fed animals get sick (unhappy cows) and require large amounts of hormones and antibiotics to achieve their state of “equivalency” to the grass-fed cows, and their meat contains a seriously unhealthy imbalance of Omega fats (relatively recently discovered through independent testing to be a major contributing factor in heart disease and a host of other “modern” afflictions). Who knew?

          Who didn’t know were producers who wanted us to believe that consuming a vastly greater quantity of Omega 6 compared to Omega 3 (for one example; there are other Omegas, and may be other untested-for factors in play too) has no impact on human health. But Omega-fat imbalances DO have a significant long- and intermediate-term impact on human health. The original scientific tests were inadequate to predict the endemic problems SAD consumers are now faced with.

          The baseline is, of course, organically and naturally raised beef–vs. CAFO (factory farm) raised beef. The baseline is ALWAYS natural-organic, the tests are ALWAYS for artificial methods or added/subtracted ingredients. Same with everything else, from baking with grains (Einkorn or Kamut vs. modern dwarf wheat) to sweetening with chemicals, farming fish to producing eggs, making beer to inventing pharmaceuticals. And we the people, ultimately, are the beta test.

          You’ve also changed the subject, Robert, from organic foods to my emotional state, and imply that organic food producers and consumers are involved in a cult. That is not logical, nor even germane. Even Scientologists and voodoo worshippers can develop heart disease and systemic inflammation from consuming too many Omega 6 fats in ratio to Omega 3s. Both atheists and bible worshippers develop intestinal problems when eating modern wheat (developed in the 1960s) vs. the older, long-stemmed wheats.

          • Robert Cruder

            The article exactly describes what happens when one can raise products with radically different properties under the same ambiguous procedural standard. After an industry agrees to such a standard, it has no right to complain if anyone finds a less expensive way to comply with it.

            It is for epidemiologists to determine what levels of each chemical, natural or artificial, is either required for health or harmful to health. It is not for those who profit from selling organics to pick and choose individual chemicals from individual studies of individual crops to praise ALL crops that are raised under their interpretation and condemn ALL crops which are not.

            You raised a reasonable question regarding flawed metrics but did not quote a single one supporting your argument.

            While there are reasonable concerns regarding grain-fed vs. pastured beef, you do not even argue that ORGANIC grain fed beef is any better than conventional grain fed beef. You do not argue that ORGANIC pastured beef is better than conventional pastured beef. Comparing apples to oranges is a sham argument.

            If you studied basic logic, you know that a false premise may yield a true conclusion but that does not make the premise true. Even if one sample of an organic crop were proved superior in one way or one sample of a conventional crop were proved toxic, that would not confirm your belief that every organic crop is superior in every way or that every conventional crop is toxic.

            I raised the issue of your emotional state because it is emotion which leads one to take many things which one does not like and stew them into what feels like an argument. If it makes you feel better then good for you.

  • Everyone wants to get in on the act.Just a look at the local Safeway tells the tale.Organics are finding places in every aisle.It’s the ease with which our country allows these corporations to greenwash their products that’s suspect.There’s really no way to be sure what you’re getting unless you’re familiar with the source or the brand.

  • Everyone wants to get in on the act.Just a look at the local Safeway tells the tale.Organics are finding places in every aisle.It’s the ease with which our country allows these corporations to greenwash their products that’s suspect.There’s really no way to be sure what you’re getting unless you’re familiar with the source or the brand.

  • markypolo

    Government serves ITSELF, not the PEOPLE. TRUST in that.

  • Carl Watts

    Purchasing corn or soy is a questionable practice that I don’t do. Easy to boycott Turkey’s “organics”. While USA has problems, home grown is certainly fresher and better 🙂

  • zipper

    The only way to really be sure it’s “organic” is to grow it yourself.