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The Los Angeles Times reports that “the U.S. Department of Agriculture gave interim approval Friday to a controversial proposal to allow 38 nonorganic ingredients to be used in foods carrying the ‘USDA Organic’ seal. But the agency also allowed an extra 60 days for public comment.

“Manufacturers of organic foods had pushed for the change, arguing that the 38 items are minor ingredients in their products and are difficult to find in organic form. But consumers opposed to the use of pesticides, chemical fertilizers, antibiotics and growth hormones in food production bombarded the USDA with more than 1,000 complaints last month … The list approved Friday includes 19 food colorings, two starches, hops, sausage casings, fish oil, chipotle chili pepper, gelatin, celery powder, dill weed oil, frozen lemongrass, Wakame seaweed, Turkish bay leaves and whey protein concentrate.

“Manufacturers will be allowed to use conventionally grown versions of these ingredients in foods carrying the USDA seal, provided that they can't find organic equivalents and that nonorganics comprise no more than 5% of the product.

“A wide range of organic food could be affected, including cereal, sausage, bread, beer, pasta, candy and soup mixes.”
KC's View:
I’d like to point out that in my world, the lead sentence in this story would read as follows:

“The U.S. Department of Agriculture, bowing to its own worst instincts, gave interim approval Friday to a controversial proposal to allow 38 nonorganic ingredients to be used in foods carrying the ‘USDA Organic’ seal.”

I understand the issue here, and that this is a limited approval that applies only to products for which they cannot find an organic alternative. And I’m sure that these products will be perfectly healthy and tasty and yummy. Just not organic.

This decision is just nonsense. Organic is organic. And now, these so-called organic products that carry non-organic ingredients will not be organic, and the companies that produce them will be guilty of government-sanctioned false advertising.

I wonder if somebody will sue the government over this one?