We’re not the only ones doing this. Third-party organic certifiers currently conduct testing for pesticides, GMOs, antibiotics and other prohibited substances when contamination is suspected or when a complaint is received.
While the standards largely focus on the verification of procedures (process-based), testing is a tool used regularly to validate contamination prevention measures and/or to address complaints and reported contamination.
The National Organic Program has recently released a proposed rule that will require certifiers to conduct residue testing on 5% of their certified operations annually.
The required testing will be in addition to testing already conducted when contamination is suspected or complaints are received.
The final rule will clarify the required testing provision in the Organic Foods Production Act. The final rule is expected late this year.
Organic is, indeed, one of the most highly regulated, inspected and third-party verified food terms in existence in the U.S., but even such layers of assurance cannot ensure 100% compliance.
This is why it’s so important to choose food from producers with integrity, who merit your trust.
If people cheat the system, with or without malicious intent, their violations should not cast doubt on an entire group of producers.
I could continue to address the inaccuracies in Popoff’s column, but this column will get long and boring.
Suffice it to say that I have higher expectations of The Packer than to run a column like this without question, and I know that most of your readers have the common sense to question Popoff’s assertions.
Charles Sweat is chief executive officer of San Juan Bautista, Calif.-based Earthbound Farm.
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