Organic Industry Lobby Misrepresents Own Rules to Undermine Competitors and Promote Fear in Consumers

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The Organic Trade Association (OTA), the lobby organization for the $10 billion organic foods industry, is falsely claiming that so-called genetic contamination of organic crops from genetically engineered crops will have Â?detrimental effects on the organic industry, and ultimately consumer choice.Â?

The Organic Trade Association (OTA), the lobby organization for the $10 billion organic foods industry, is falsely claiming that so-called genetic contamination of organic crops from genetically engineered crops will have “detrimental effects on the organic industry, and ultimately consumer choice.”

The statements of the OTA’s executive director, Katherine DiMatteo that “organic agriculture must be protected from contamination and damage from genetically engineered crops,” is simply an attempt to stifle competing farmers and limit their ability to supply consumers with safe and superior products at a lower cost than achievable by organic farming methods.

The OTA is fully aware that for more than 40 years, organic has been a process based standard attesting to “the ability of organic operations to follow a set of production standards and practices,” not a guarantee of pure content. The US Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program (NOP) Final Rule makes clear regarding genetic drift that the “the presence of a detectable residue of a product of excluded methods alone does not necessarily constitute a violation of this regulation. As long as an organic operation has not used excluded methods and takes reasonable steps to avoid contact with the products of excluded methods as detailed in their approved organic system plan, the unintentional presence of the products of excluded methods should not affect the status of an organic product or operation.”

http://www.ams.usda.gov/nop/NOP/standards/FullText.pdf

These facts are corroborated by recent research conducted by the Organic Materials Research Institute that found one-quarter of all certified organic fruits and vegetables tested by government agencies contained detectable residues of synthetic pesticides prohibited under current organic regulations. Yet these products retained their organic status as do the farms growing them.

The OTA is propagating a lie by pretending so-called genetic contamination threatens the organic industry or consumer choice. Pollen is natural and the pretense that organic farmers should be "protected" from the pollen from the crops of neighboring non-organic farmers is totally unrealistic and contrary to nearly 50 years of organic rules.

The Hudson Institute’s Center for Global Food Issues is a tax-exempt, 501(c)3 non-profit organization that examines food policy and technology.

Media contact:

Alex Avery

Director of Research

Center for Global Food Issues, Hudson Institute

PO Box 202, Churchville, VA 24421

(540) 337-6354, or -6387

aavery@cgfi.org

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