Sunday, October 11, 2015
On my Google News page I spotted an article by Modern Farmer (whatver that is) headlined The Bad News About the Organic Industry. The article is a pretty exhaustive look at some of the problems in the organic food industry, mainly having to do with the standards for what's considered organic but also with the costs a farmer incurs by "going organic."
During the Clinton Administration the USDA started an organic foods certification program. That's the green and white "USDA Organic" label you see on most organic foods (that many non organic foods mimic with a similar colored and shaped label they stick on in the same place to get you to pick up their products.)
I recall when the USDA organic certification battle was being waged. Big agribusiness tried to dilute the initial standards, then having for the most part failed, they were able to re-open the issue a year later and tried to dilute them again. Both attempts were beaten back, but the standards never were ideal in the first place because, in the opinion of me and other semi neurotic people, they allowed small amounts of non organic and synthetic ingredients.
Those problems, the ongoing problems with the food industry not wanting to label foods that contain things people don't want to eat, and the problems listed in the Modern Farmer article could be rectified with another concerted effort by the people. After the USDA certified organic battles many of them, I think, went their merry ways and there will have to be another round of activism to perfect the standards and to once and for all give us control over what we eat. But I think it will happen. There are just too many people now who are concerned about what they eat for big agribusiness, and the politicians who love their campaign money, to overcome.
Note: The Modern Farmer article cites as one of the problems the fact that foods grown in other countries can get the USDA Organic label. I myself don't see that as a problem. Mexican and Canadian trucking companies came come into the US now, and if I want to do what they did and figure out how to operate in their countries I'm free to do it.