Perhaps even more so than their conventional counterparts, organic vegetables and fruits depend on consumers’ trust in the methods used to produce them.
In a move to solidify that trust, organizations that certify organic producers will be required to conduct periodic residue tests on at least 5% of their clients’ farms beginning in 2013.
U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program’s move coincides with a pair of cases that illustrate the need to ensure the integrity of organic products:
- In California, a man who admitted defrauding the organic industry by selling more than $6.5 million of his noncompliant fertilizer received a 364-day prison term in early November.
- Also in November, a California man was slapped with a 6½-year prison sentence and ordered to pay a $9 million judgment for selling organic producers synthetic fertilizer falsely represented as certified organic.
In a nod toward efficiency, NOP’s revised rule will only require reporting of results where violation of Environmental Protection Agency or Food and Drug Administration requirements is found.
Stakeholder buy-in can make or break the effectiveness of regulatory standards, and NOP’s rule has garnered support from across the organic sector, including such heavyweights as Earthbound Farm.
No industry wants to be heavily regulated, but on the other hand, being well regulated can be good for business.
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