Updated May 15
[Read Cornucopia’s letter to USDA Secretary Perdue.]
Industry Watchdog Reinforces Call for New Leadership at USDA National Organic Program
Non-organic corn and soy, labeled as organic, are flooding U.S. ports, undercutting legitimate U.S. organic farmers, due to the USDA’s negligence. The organic industry’s most aggressive industry watchdog, The Cornucopia Institute, reinforced their call for USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue to correct the chronic pattern of gross corruption at the National Organic Program (NOP) by replacing the incompetent management.
|Imported organic corn being unloaded in the U.S.
Cornucopia’s letter to Perdue follows the release of a new investigation by The Washington Post documenting massive shipments of fraudulent organic grains entering the U.S. from China and Eastern Europe. The May 13 article, The labels said ‘organic.’ But these massive imports of corn and soybeans weren’t, details how easy it has been for exporters to sell gross amounts of fraudulent “organic” commodities to U.S. markets.
“This is the second organic major-league scandal uncovered this month by The Washington Post, and it confirms a longstanding pattern of negligence and corruption documented by our researchers,” said Will Fantle, Cornucopia’s codirector.
Cornucopia has filed numerous formal and well-documented legal complaints seeking to force the USDA to examine a wide range of alleged wrongdoings at organic factory farms and by other industry scofflaws. All too often the complaints have been dismissed without investigation, or, when found meritorious, penalties have been negotiated down to a “light slap on the wrist” for offenders, with the details of the deals cloaked in secrecy, according to Cornucopia.
The organic sector is a robust and rapidly growing piece of the food pie, with annual sales now topping more than $40 billion. “Clearly there is a hunger by many in America for food that is safer and more nutrient-dense,” Fantle noted. “But consumers are being cheated and ethical farmers are being robbed of income while the USDA fails to vigorously defend—as they were charged to do by Congress—organic integrity.” Read Full Article »