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ORCA to Attack ‘Natural’ Products Intentional Mislabeling

March 7, 2013   

CONTACT: Organic Consumers Association, Katherine Paul, 207.653.3090

ANAHEIM, Calif. - The million-strong Organic Consumers Association (OCA), North America€™s leading watchdog over organic and fair trade standards, announced today at the national Expo-West Natural Products convention, along with its allies in the organic and natural health community, a new nationwide campaign: the Organic Retail and Consumer Alliance (ORCA). This new alliance of public interest groups and food producers and retailers, including co-ops, natural food stores, farmers markets, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) buying clubs and wholesalers, will aggressively promote organic food and products, and expose and eliminate the misleading practice of €œnatural€ labeling and marketing that has slowed the growth of America€™s $30-billion dollar organic sector.

€œRoutine mislabeling and marketing has confused millions of U.S. consumers, and enabled the so-called €˜natural€™ foods and products sector to grow into a $60-billion dollar a year powerhouse, garnering twice as many sales in 2012 as certified organic products,€ said Ronnie Cummins, OCA€™s National Director. €œBy exposing these misleading tactics, and promoting truth-in-labeling, we believe we can rapidly grow sales of certified organic and authentically natural food and products.€

Polls and surveys indicate that the majority of America€™s health- and environmentally conscious consumers are confused about the qualitative difference between organic foods and items and so-called €œnatural€ products. The majority of consumers believe, contrary to fact, that the cheaper foods, supplements, body care, clothing, and other products bearing the €œnatural€ label are €œalmost organic,€ while many consumers actually believe that the €œall natural€ label means a product is better than organic.

€œThis is outrageous,€ said Cummins, €œgiven that organic food and products, by law and by third-party certification, are produced without the use of synthetic pesticides and chemical fertilizers, animal drugs, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), irradiation, nanoparticles, or sewage sludge, whereas so-called €œnatural€ products are unregulated.€

ORCA members will use a combination of public education, marketplace pressure, boycotts, class action lawsuits and state legislation to end misleading labeling practices in the €œnatural€ products sector. Member will agree to:

€¢    Promote organic foods and products, especially local and regionally produced organic, as well as products in transition to organic, rather than so-called "natural" products. (€œTransition to organic€ means a producer has signed a contract with an accredited organic certifier to begin making the transition to organic.)  

€¢    Promote truth-in-labeling by demanding signed, legally binding affidavits from €œnatural€ product and ingredient suppliers stating whether or not their products contain genetically engineered ingredients. Voluntarily label or inform consumers about which €œnatural€ or €œconventional€ brands or products contain GMOs.

€¢    Educate customers and the public about the qualitative superiority of organic and truly natural products (i.e. 100% pastured and free-range meat and animal products), as opposed to bogus €œnatural€ products, which in most cases are no different than €œconventional€ chemical-intensive, factory-farmed products.

Public interest organizations, producers, and retailers wishing to join the Organic Retail and Consumer Alliance should contact the Organic Consumers Association by email: or telephone: 218-226-4164.

For press inquiries, please contact Katherine Paul by email: or phone: 207.653.3090

The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) is an online and grassroots non-profit 501(c)3 public interest organization campaigning for health, justice, and sustainability. The Organic Consumers Fund is a 501(c)4 allied organization of the Organic Consumers Association, focused on grassroots lobbying and legislative action.

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