Lobbying for Loopholes
Okay, so organic standards, and the process used to enforce them, aren’t perfect. But the certified organic label is still your best bet for avoiding pesticides, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and synthetic ingredients, and foods produced using methods that degenerate soil health and pollute the environment.
What we need are stronger standards, and better enforcement. Unfortunately, Congress and the Trump Administration’s U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) are threatening to “reform” the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA) and the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB)—in ways that could weaken organic standards beyond recognition.
Who’s behind the push to erode standards? The same bad actors who have been lobbying for loopholes ever since Congress passed the OFPA in 1990—Big Food corporations and factory farm operations masquerading as organic. And now they’re stepping up their game, for two reasons.
One, as consumer demand for organic products grows, Big Food is buying up organic brands. This gives them a seat at the organic policymaking table, where, naturally, they are hard at work to lower standards in order to raise profit margins.
And two, they smell opportunity. The Trump Administration has made its position on regulations clear: more industry involvement, more concern for corporate profits, and less concern for consumer rights, public health, the environment.
Congress needs to hear from consumers—often, and in large numbers—that we want stronger, not weaker organic standards. Standards that support small, authentic producers.