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Keeping ‘Organic’ Honest

If you want to avoid GMOs and pesticides, your best option (other than growing your own food) is to buy products that bear the green and white USDA Organic seal.

But the certification process behind the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Organic Program (NOP), and the people who manage it, aren’t perfect. Unless consumers keep the program honest, the standards governing organic will deteriorate.

With sales of organics hitting a record $39 billion in 2014, companies like Kellogg’s and General Mills are buying up organic brands—and then angling for positions on the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) so they can influence organic standards. And not in a good way, says the Cornucopia Institute.

In fact, things are so bad, that the Cornucopia Institute is calling for the removal of NOP Deputy Administrator, Miles McEvoy.

Meanwhile, the NOSB is meeting in Stowe, Vt. this week. The board will review more than 100 non-organic materials that currently are allowed in organic, but are nearing their five-year expiration date. Some of those include: the use of ethylene gas to induce flowering in pineapples; non-organic celery powder, high in nitrates, as a preservative in bacon and sausage; and non-organic coloring sources. 

Stay tuned. 

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