Fraudulent organics are flooding US shores and coming to a grocery store near you. The USDA response: crickets. Action Alert!
Earlier this year, we reported that millions of bushels of soy and corn imported to the US were fraudulently sold as organic. News reports singled out ETKO, a Turkish organic certifier, as a major source of fraud. ETKO has been decertified in other countries, but the USDA continues to give it a pass.
Now, the Washington Post has reported that 36 million pounds of soybeans arrived in California via Ukraine and Turkey and was falsely labeled “organic.” Most of the grain and soy was destined to feed animals that produce organic milk, eggs, and meat.
Nevertheless, the USDA continues to bury its head in the sand. Despite the fact that half of organic soy and corn is imported and therefore susceptible to these ongoing problems, the USDA says that their system for ensuring the integrity of organic imports is “robust.” To date, the agency has issued no major sanctions for fraudulent imported grain.
The problem could be much more widespread. Products from China imported and sold as organic in the US might not meet USDA organic standards. Testing showed that 37% of samples from Chinese organic farms had more than just traces of pesticide residue.
Most Americans would be shocked to know that the USDA outsources its foreign inspections to third party companies or foreign regulators. Clearly, this is an issue. Different testing criteria can cause large fluctuations in results such that any farm can be made to look organic.
This isn’t just a problem for consumers; the fraudulent organic imports are undercutting US organic farmers and making it more difficult to sell legitimate organic products. Should those farmers be driven out of business by fake organics, there will be little to no confidence that what you purchase at the market as “organic” will be what it claims to be.
Send a message to the USDA, telling them to clean up their act and protect American farmers and consumers.
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.
Other articles in this week’s Pulse of Natural Health: