Big food processors, imports undermine organic foundation: report


Jun 17, 2009

Two reports by seperate organizations -- The Cornucopia Institute and the United States Department of Agriculture  --  reach similared conclusions about organic manufacturing as it relates to food processors: organic manufacturers and farmers are facing escalating competition from large conventional food manufacturers entering the organic market, and companies are increasingly looking to China and other countries to import organic foods and ingredients.
According to the USDA’s report U.S. organic soybean production started declining several years ago despite steeply increasing demand for organic feed grains and consumer products such as soymilk.  
Cornucopia contends that the purported shortage of organic soybeans in the United States is not a legitimate excuse for companies to import cheap crops from China or abandon organic ingredient sourcing altogether.  

The USDA report concludes, “Despite the potential for organic agriculture to improve the environmental performance of U.S. agriculture, the national standard is having only a modest impact on environmental externalities caused by conventional production methods because the organic adoption rate is so low.”  In other words, our country could be reducing pesticide contamination of surface- and groundwater, soil erosion, loss of wildlife, and other negative impacts on the environment, but greed appears to have stunted the growth of domestic organic agriculture.