Daily News Archive
Refuses to Provide Documentation on Organic Food Certification
Recent accounts of inconsistent and potentially illegal clarifications on organic standards from the USDA calls into question whether the agency is adequately reviewing and scrutinizing all organic certifying agents it has allowed into the national organic program. In an effort to ensure that USDA is not allowing "sham" certifiers into the organic program, in June of 2002, CFS filed a Freedom of Information Act request seeking all USDA documents used in reviewing the application of certifiers to participate in the program. For over two years the USDA has stonewalled and refused to provide CFS with the documents.
"USDA's failure to release these documents threatens the integrity of the "organic" label," stated Joseph Mendelson, CFS Legal Director. "The decision on who is to certify organic produce needs to be in full view of the public, where it cannot be influenced by large corporate interests."
"The refusal to provide these records is another step in the Bush Administration's attempt to cut the public out of the debate concerning organic foods," continued Mendelson.
"Consumers and organic producers want to ensure that use of the organic label adheres to a high standard," Mendelson concluded.
For more information on organic foods visit Beyond Pesticides' organic food section.