USA: Organic issues at Natural Products Expo East
by Redaktion (comments: 0)
The Organic Trade Association (OTA) will deliver a two-day conference program, All Things Organic, at the Natural Products Expo East show in Baltimore on 17 – 20 September 2014. The OTA conference, to be held on 18 – 19 September 2014, will offer the most up-to-date picture of the state of the organic industry and also look into the future to hear about innovative approaches that are encouraging more farmers to go organic. It will zero in on the push for a non-GMO label and address whether secondary certifications are necessary or if they just add to consumer confusion. It will analyze recent regulatory changes affecting organic businesses, and feature an expert panel to discuss the latest developments in the rapidly growing organic fiber sector.
A keynote panel discussion on the current and future state of the organic industry will kick off OTA's conference. Hosted by Sam Fromartz, editor-in-chief at the Food & Environment Reporting Network and author of Organic, Inc., the session will feature OTA's Executive Director Laura Batcha, organic farmer Doug Crabtree who is the winner of OTA's 2014 Organic Farmer of the Year Award, Anne Alonzo (administrator of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Marketing Service), and Ken Cook (president of the Environmental Working Group). Also discussed will be the tight supply of domestically grown organic food and fiber. As demand for organic has risen, farmers have not been able to keep up, and USA imports of organic products have exploded in recent years. All Things Organic will look at the supply/demand issue and will feature some of the country's most forward-thinking organic farmers and researchers talking about ways being explored to make organic farming more accessible to beginning and established farmers. Another session will focus on organic imports, and how to ensure the safety of the American consumer by putting measures in place to assure organic meets the same high standard the world around.
Consumer confusion about just what organic means and the widespread concern over GMOs will be addressed at another session of the conference. A recent OTA survey of more than 1,200 households across the nation found that for almost a quarter of parents buying organic, wanting to steer clear of genetically modified foods is now one of their top reasons for selecting organic. By law, organic products cannot be produced using GMOs, but that fact can sometimes be lost in the shopping aisle. The conference will look at whether more product labels certifying the absence of GMOs would help or hinder consumers. The health of people, the environment and organic are all intertwined. With that in mind, All Things Organic will discuss new studies showing the beneficial impacts on human health of organic foods, and present a science-based look at global warming and the mitigating effects on climate change of organic agriculture. All Things Organic is just one of the many activities that OTA will have underway at Expo East. A list of OTA's complete activities is available here