Government Readying New Exceptions to Organic Rules

Government Readying New Exceptions to Organic Rules

Chris Phillips
Jun 11, 2007

When can producers call food with non-organic ingredients 'organic'? Today's New York Times tackles the question in this story: Nonorganic Exceptions Ruffle Enthusiasts of Organic Food.

The article reports that the Department of Agriculture is "poised to approve a list of nonorganic ingredients that can be used in food stamped with its green-and-white organic seal."

"The organic advisory board to the Agriculture Department recommended that 38 nonorganic ingredients be added to a list of approved ingredients," reports The Times. "Rules on organic labeling dictate that 95 percent of a product must be organic to obtain the department's label; the remaining 5 percent can be nonorganic if it comes from an approved list."

We were surprised to see that John Foraker, chief executive of Annie's Homegrown, told Agriculture Department that it is okay for Annie's to use non-organic annatto, a coloring agent, in their "organic" macaroni and cheese.

Adding these ingredients to the government's list can be seen as weakening the integrity of the organic label.

Bloggers are starting to sound off: Flash in the Pan says "It just seems wrong that organic is the same processed crap as non-organic ... Maybe organic will have to go out the window and making things from scratch will be the only reasonable option for those interested in what they're really eating, and not what a label claims."

Read the article and let us know what you say. Is organic going out the window? Do these exceptions ruffle your feathers?

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