USA: Organic Trade Association accepts BASF and Cargill as new members
by Leo Frühschütz (comments: 0)
The agricultural trading group Cargill and a plastics-producing subsidiary of the chemical group BASF have become members of the US Organic Trade Association (OTA).
These memberships have caused unrest within the American organic movement. The US organic portal Living Maxwell reported that the organic cereal market leader Nature's Path left the OTA in protest. Its founder Arran Stephens was a board member of OTA from 1996 to 2002. In his justification for the withdrawal, he also accused the organic association of having advocated the organic cultivation of vegetables in nutrient solution (hydroponics) and the unsuitable genetic engineering labelling of foodstuffs from the consumer's point of view.
Living Maxwell emphasized BASF and Cargill's support for genetically modified seeds and attacked BASF as one of two suppliers (the other being Monsanto) of the controversial U.S. herbicide Dicamba. OTA Managing Director Laura Batcha defended the membership of the chemical company to Living Maxwell by saying that BASF is a non-voting member that wants to produce biodegradable plastics for the bio-market. Cargill has its own organic value chains for agricultural products. She further stated that OTA wants to involve companies as members that are active on the market.
The consumer organisation Organic Consumers Association (OCA) has started an e-mail campaign providing organic customers with the possibility to protest against the membership of both companies in the OTA. The OCA has been critical of the organic umbrella organisation for years and accuses it of being too close to the large food companies.