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Will Organic Free Trade Really Do a World of Good?

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's All About Organics page, Politics and Democracy page, and our Breaking The Chains page.
It's official: Organic food certified in the European Union will now be treated as equivalent to food certified here in the U.S., a fact that will now make trade between the two regions much easier. Since the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the new agreement on Feb. 15, several media sources have lauded it for opening up new overseas markets for organic farmers.

The agriculture press has called it a win for organics, and even Food Safety News focused almost exclusively on the positive trade implications of the agreement.

Mark Lipson, organic and sustainable agriculture policy adviser for the USDA, agrees. "It builds more trust," he says, adding: "It will give more heft to organic overall."

And while there are clearly positives for the industry at large, I can't help but wonder whether this shift might make it tougher for eaters, many of whom are already overwhelmed by the work it takes to sift through the convoluted backstory of who, what, and where their food comes from.