organic food becomes an increasingly common feature in grocery
stores aross the country, it is important to take a closer look at what "organic" really
means. In spite of an economic recession that has impacted the
sale of countless commodities in the U.S., organic food has proven to be a
consistently expanding market. The graph below shows the marked
increase in organic sales between 1990 and 2006, a trend that has only
continued in the past four years (Howard, 2006.)
is no one driving force behind the growing organics market, the point
stands that consumers and producers alike have become increasingly
interested in seeing more organic products, whether produce, dairy,
meat, or processed and packaged items made available in grocery stores
across the United States (Consumer Reports, 2006). The increased
attention to organic practices and production represents an important
shift in the food industry, one that promises a more sustainable future
for food production in the U.S. (Gupta, 2008). At the same time,
however, increased interest represents a significant threat to the
meaning of “organic”
and the organic label overall (Gray, 2007).
of this website is to examine the organic food industry in the United
States, how it came to be regulated, and ultimately to understand how
recent changes to organic food legislation seriously threaten consumer
choice, consumer safety, and the overall integrity of the organic label
will look in depth at the National List, one feature of the Organic
Food Productions Act of 1990 that has become a significant point of
contention in the past 5 years. The National List of Allowed and
Prohibited Substances, while a significant resource for organic
handlers and producers, is largely unknown to the growing number of
consumers who invest in organic foods on a regular basis. We’ll
look at the origins of the list, its impact on organic labeling, and
how consumers can learn more, know more, and do more to ensure that
organic foods are better produced and better regulated.
Image: United States Department of Agriculture Organic Label.
Image: Zucchini with the USDA Organic Label.
Image: Cereal with the USDA Organic Label.