Are Fake Organic Foods Flooding the U.S.?
By Heather Callaghan, Editor
Could it be true? Could you and your family be paying top dollar for imported foods that aren’t the least bit organic?
According to a report by the Alliance for Natural Health U.S. we have a situation where we are importing food from countries like Turkey and our agencies aren’t inspecting organic claims properly.
The report says:
Organic corn exports from Turkey to the US have exploded. Compared to the same six-month time period in 2015, the dollar value of organic corn imports from Turkey during the first six months of 2016 increased by 500%. Organic soy imports from Turkey in the same period increased by an astounding 3600%.
Unfortunately, there’s a very good chance that these millions of bushels of corn and soy aren’t actually organic at all, and federal regulators—unlike their counterparts in other countries—do not seem concerned in the least.
Turkey’s organic industry has major problems. Between 2012 and 2015, several reports—from respected bodies such as the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture, Eurofins Scientific, and our friends at the Cornucopia Institute—found widespread fraud and unapproved production methods in organic products, either directly from Turkey, or perhaps routed through Turkey after originating elsewhere.
There are reports that the measures taken by the EU and others have simply led some exporters to ship to markets that are more likely to accept their products—like the US.
Since they acknowledge knowing about the problem, why is the USDA so unconcerned about the threat of boatloads of fake organic grain coming into the US, which will disrupt, displace, and may even bankrupt US organic producers?
People seem confused as to why the USDA would allow products that don’t actually fit the organic standards on to the market because they believe that the USDA has the health of the consumer at heart. But remember that the USDA has a history of approving materials and products that are actually dangerous to human health.
The USDA essentially has a revolving door with Big Ag. There are two reasons, beyond basic corruption, I would suggest is behind the USDA looking the other way in the face of tainted organic goods. First, allowing foreign produced organic goods into the market serves to push American farmers out of the organic business due to low production costs and the lack of appropriate import controls, namely tariffs. Once again, we see the benefits of Free Trade in that the cheap products coming from overseas push out the American producer and force them to rely on Big Ag. And the imports are cheap for the same reason most other imports are cheap – because of low production standards and cheap labor.
Second, by allowing tainted “organic” products on the market, consumers are unknowingly consuming food that is of lower quality and thus are comparing the results of what they believe to be an improved diet against their standard diet. Even if the stuff coming from Turkey is probably still better than Big Ag GMO food produced in the States but it still muddies the waters. By this I mean that, if people who are eating what they believe to be organic food are not seeing any improvements in their health as compared to the people eating conventional Big Ag produced food, then the results will be presented as their being no difference between conventional and organic agriculture.
I would suggest the U.S. government immediately address this issue in accordance with the standards they have already set but I would also suggest a program of Parity Agriculture for U.S. family farmers producing organic, non-GMO, and generally clean food produced with fewer pesticides. Once American agriculture is brought back to a manageable state, there would be no need for foreign organic imports and thus tariffs could even be explored.
ANH-USA says the feds are definitely aware of the problem, but they aren’t currently doing anything about fake organic food flooding the U.S. market. They encourage you to take action HERE.