The Indelible Bonobo Experience

Renaissance Monkey: in-depth expertise in Jack-of-all-trading. I mostly comment on news of interest to me and occasionally engage in debates or troll passive-aggressively. Ask or Submit 2 mah authoritah! ;) !

According to USDA rules, if 95 percent of a product is made up of organic ingredients, it can be called organic. If it’s 70 percent organic, the label can read “made with organic ingredients.”

How Much of Your Food Labeled as Organic Is Actually Organic? - Barry Estabrook - Health - The Atlantic

I always wondered why is it that we know so little about those standards and organizations that stamp our food as “organic”. If, presumably, these organizations are paid by those who get the stamp, isn’t there the same moral hazard present in Anderson - Enron checking or investment banks and credit rating houses relationships?

Well, this article talks mostly about regulatory capture rather:

For the past several years, public interest groups such as the Cornucopia Institute have complained that the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), which has the power to determine what materials can — and cannot — be used in organic production, too often weakens regulations in the face of intense lobbying by corporations who are more interested in the higher profits conferred by the word “organic” than in strong and meaningful standards.

Clad in well-worn jeans, a denim vest over a salmon-colored turtleneck sweater, and a pair of scuffed work boots, Richardson snooped from one end of the bakery to the other.

Recently, five new members were nominated for five-year terms to the 15-member board. The Obama administration has had a schizophrenic relationship with agriculture, on one hand cozying up to the likes of Monsanto Co. by advocating for GM crops, and on the other hand winning plaudits from small farm and organic advocates for programs like Know Your Farmer Know your Food and the White House organic garden.

So I was interested to see what type of NOSB appointees were selected. Fortunately, for a firsthand look all I had to do was get in my car and drive 20 miles up the road to Shelburne Farms, where Jean Richardson, an organic inspector, was conducting the annual inspection of O Bread bakery one recent afternoon.

It’s not much, but it’s a start..

  1. inbonobo posted this