How does the USDA's National Organic Program use its definition of words to determine whether organic food remains free of synthetic ingredients? Most of us don't even think about this issue, and instead just assume if a food in the store is labeled as "organic," that's really what it is and we don't have to worry about it containing synthetic or toxic ingredients. Recently I saw a great article on the subject by OCA attorney and political director Alexis Baden-Mayer on this important subject. Organic Consumers Association ("OCA") is particularly focused on promoting "regenerative agriculture." This is a form of food production that creates rich, living soil ecosystems and healthy environments, instead of the destructive health effects and pollution that typically come from the use of conventional, toxic chemical-based agriculture.
USDA is one of the biggest promoters of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and even GMO seeds and crops on the planet. I have met great and very sincere people working in the USDA organic program. But it is important to realize that at the top levels, USDA officials are not running the organic program because they want to replace chemical agriculture with something safer and better at producing healthy food. It is far more likely that their motive is to get all those who want to eat organic food trusting USDA organic certification, and then to quietly undermine their definition of organic step by step until it is essentially the same as food grown with chemicals. Organizations like OCA are watchdogs committed to not letting that happen.
This Sunday, meet OCA attorney Alexis Baden-Mayer, and learn the good things that are happening with the National Organic Program, her view on whether eating "organic" under their current definitions is still a good idea, and the work that still needs to be done to keep organic certification meaningful.