Federal Standards For Organic Food Industry

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Since 2000, sales of organic foods in the United States have grown roughly 200%, and are expected to generate 42 billion dollars in 2014 (“US Organic Food Industry”, para. 1). This makes organics the fastest growing portion of the entire food industry, and worthy of keeping an eye on. The surge of growth was caused in part by the USDA release of its national standards for organic products in 2002, which subsequently prompted consumer demand for food that was healthier and better for the environment, and the popularization of “health food” stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s that market to these consumers (Callard, 2009). Unfortunately, the relaxation of federal standards concerning the legal definition of “organic” was also a major contributing factor in this growth, which has prompted tension as to whether the USDA Organics program should allow small amounts of non-organic, supposedly non-health-threatening, or whether it should abide by a more strict interpretation, allowing only non-synthetic ingredients. As it stands today, synthetic ingredients are allowed in products with an attractive, green and white “USDA Organic” logo on the front. For example, synthetic choline, a water-soluble essential nutrient, is allowed in “organic” Gerber baby food, even though this synthetic compound was never even approved for use in Organic products (“Synthetic Nutrients in Organic Foods”). Also, powdered cellulose derived from wood starch is allowed in “organic” grated cheese for the purpose of preventing clumping. While there is no research indicating that cellulose poses health concerns, it is indigestible by humans, and the fact that a product containing synthetic ingredients is being labeled by a federal program as “organic” under th... ... middle of paper ... ...suggestions of stricter policies for the USDA Organic label, and legislation to enforce these policies, and to make USDA practices more transparent, I encourage the consideration of cost of this venture. This is money that could be used to print more USDA Organic labels. In the words of Thoreau, “simplify, simplify, simplify”. We must calm this storm of confusion and unite under a single banner: USDA Organic. Given all that I have said here, I want to stress that my intentions for this proposal were solely aimed at the clearing up of any misunderstanding between producer and consumer. My proposed changes would not benefit me, or, with the exception of the joy of watching the improvement of the lives of my human cousins, affect my personal life at all for that matter. As a goat, my diet consists of vines, shrubbery, and anything else that I can fit inside my mouth.

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