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Cornucopia Institute files legal complainst agains Wal-Mart

by Redaktion (comments: 0)

The Cornucopia Institute has filed legal complaints with the USDA alleging that Wal-Mart, and a North Carolina-based company, Homs Llc, are violating the USDA organic standards by using conventional agricultural oils, and other ingredients, in pest control products that bear the word organic and the green “USDA organic” seal.  The pest control products in question are marketed under the Bio Block label. A debate has been raging for years whether non-food products, such as pet food and personal care products, are included in the strict regulations that determine the use of the word “organic” on packaging. Most of those products at least had organic ingredients involved in their manufacture, whereas Bio Block pest control products contain not a single organically produced ingredient. However, there has never been any question that the green “USDA Organic” seal can be used only by producers that follow the rigorous standards mandated by Congress and administered by the USDA’s National Organic Program, according to the Cornucopia Institute.
 
In addition to using the word organic prominently on its label, Homs uses the USDA seal on at least one of its Bio Block products without specifying that organic ingredients were used, and without disclosing the identity of the organic certifying agent, which is also required by federal organic regulations. The Bio Block products that appear to violate the organic standards were discovered on the shelves of Wal-Mart stores. Cornucopia contends that it is not only up to farmers, food processors and certifiers to ensure that foods labeled “organic” are truly organic, but that retailers play an important role as well. 
 
Retailers can and do invest in the resources necessary to ensure organic integrity in their stores. The Wedge, a member-owned cooperative grocer in Minneapolis, handled Bio Block pesticides very differently from Wal-Mart when recently approached by one of Homs’ distributors. Since the Wedge has invested years in recruiting, hiring and training qualified staff, it came as no surprise that one of their buyers questioned the legality of Bio Block’s labels. The Wedge is one of about 275 cooperative grocers in the country which collectively helped pioneer the growth in the organic industry. The Wedge was one of the first certified organic retailers in the USA and has a full-time Organic Certification and Sustainability Coordinator.

The Cornucopia Institute
 

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