Agency Taking a Hard Look at Certification of Chinese Products
Good news: If you saw my recent story on Whole Foods Market’s credibility in sourcing of frozen organics from China, you’ll be interested to know that the US government is taking action to protect the green “U.S.D.A. organic” seal that is very important to the organics industry.
I just discovered that the New York Times ran a story in June on how the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has raised serious questions about the organic certification of Chinese products.
The USDA uses private groups to conduct most organic inspections worldwide, and it banned a leading American inspector from operating in China, as well as announced plans to send an audit team to China this year to broadly review the certification process.
The inspector was the Organic Crop Improvement Association, which used Chinese government agency employees to inspect state-controlled farms and food processing facilities. Now what could possibly go wrong with that scheme?
The organization shut down most of its operations in the wake of the USDA ban. As we’ve said before, could it be that the government is beginning to take its responsibility to protect us seriously?
Apparently, Whole Foods has gotten enough flack from its customers when media began revealing the Chinese source for its 365 label products that the company says they are reducing the number of Chinese-sourced items from 30 to two – shelled and unshelled frozen edamame soybeans.