Cornucopia’s Take: In response to the co-option of the word “sustainable” and the increasing threats to the integrity of the organic label, Rodale and a coalition of farmers, ranchers, nonprofits, scientists, and brands are creating an “add-on” certification. The ‘Regenerative Organic Certified’ label will go beyond the current organic standards to ensure that consumers have access to foods that were produced with the integrity they are looking for. It remains unclear whether additional labels in this label-heavy industry will be well-understood.
A New Food Label Is Coming Soon and It Goes ‘Beyond Organic’
by Ronnie Cummins
When finalized, the certification will go “beyond organic” by establishing higher standards for soil health and land management, animal welfare and farmer and worker fairness.
Organic Consumer Association and our Regeneration International project, fully embrace this new venture to make organic more climate friendly, humane, just and environmentally positive. As we’ve said before, when it comes to food and farming—and as we veer toward climate catastrophe—”sustainable” doesn’t cut it anymore. And certified USDA organic, though far better than GMO, chemical and energy-intensive agriculture, doesn’t go quite far enough.
The standard will be administered by NSF International, an Ann Arbor, Michigan based product testing, inspection and certification organization, and will be open to multiple certification partners, according to Rodale.
When companies like Monsanto and Bayer claim to be “sustainable” and “climate-smart,” those terms lose all meaning. When companies like Ben & Jerry’s, which relies on an industrial dairy system fueled by GMO crops, claim to be “sustainable,” we know that word has been co-opted—and corrupted.
We’ve always supported USDA organic certification—even though the standards are sometimes flawed and sometimes exploited by a few bad actors—because we believe them to be the best way for consumers to avoid pesticides and synthetic ingredients. We’ll continue to fight for stronger, better organic standards, and we’ll hold fast against allowing corporations to weaken or exploit them.
But we also believe it’s time to do better. It’s time to acknowledge the role organic regenerative agriculture plays reversing global warming, by restoring the soil’s capacity to draw down and sequester excess CO2 from the atmosphere. It’s time to acknowledge that organic, regenerative agriculture increases crop resiliency by restoring soil health and biodiversity.
It’s time to recognize that regeneration is the next stage of organic food and farming—and civilization.
This new Organic Regenerative Certification will help consumers identify those products that not only nourish their bodies, but also heal the planet.