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Strong editorial in the Berkshire Eagle about the debate within the organic community about the proposed easing of organic standards – a move that has been endorsed by the Organic Trade Association (OTA) even while being opposed by a number of organic grocers who are in the OTA’s leadership.

“The new laws regulating organic products make it easier for corporations to get in the game by basically allowing synthetically tainted products to be called organic, which is a case of government-sanctioned false advertising,” the Eagle opines. “Organic is basically a brand name and consumers are being misled.

“One new rule allows cows raised on conventional farms - fed with genetically-modified food and injected by hormones - to move to an organic farm where their milk can be called organic. The law also lessens the restrictions on conventional farmers who want to change to organic. Also, it allows synthetic ingredients to go into organic products under the claim that no organic alternative was available, which is often a phony argument.”

The Eagle concludes that the rules of organics should be as strict as kosher labeling, and that “lawmakers should fight for what's right in this case, truth in advertising of organic products.”
KC's View:
We agree.

Organic should mean organic. Nothing less.

We had a story earlier this week on MNB about how US consumers buy and eat fewer organic products that their counterparts in 37 other countries. Maybe, in some sort of misguided way, some people believe that by lowering standards they can raise the category’s distribution numbers. And maybe they’re right.

But they’ll also kill the category by making it meaningless. Lowered standards rarely improve anything except people’s delusions.

As John Mellencamp once sang, “You’ve got to stand for something, or you’ll fall for anything.”