August 12, 2008

Organic Hocus Pocus

Faced with alarming outcries and discoveries of tampered, illegally grown or processed and dubious "organic" products, the USDA is instituting the first steps in addressing this situation by disallowing organic approval of a number of consumer goods and additives desirous to sport the USDA/ORGANIC APPROVED seal.

China, perhaps the most recently prominent in the field of oversights and abuse of safety and purity standards in exports, poses a particularly difficult organic nut to crack since they do not allow foreign (aka: American or country of export) regional inspectors into their country to....inspect. The Catch-22 is that in order for the U.S. and other importers to assign (in this instance) organic approval, inspection of facilities, farms, factories, etc. are mandatory. A viscous cycle of uncertainty and irresponsibility.

Hopefully, this action is a step in the right direction for the woefully under-staffed and under-financed USDA. Hopefully, they're making a more concerted effort to enforce organic standards. Hopefully, this will also enable better protection of consumer's health, welfare and safety. Hopefully, the money provided by we consumers to support and fund this administration will be better spent, notwithstanding countries like China's inspection impediments. Hopefully, this indicates that the USDA is finally asking the questions echoed by American citizens especially within these past two years: How organic is organic? Are we safe?