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Some call organic label insufficient

SUMMIT COUNTY – While U.S. Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell fights to keep the integrity of organic-food labels intact, others maintain the federal standards don’t go far enough.

Legislators enacted the standards last October. They require any food product that is labeled “organic” to be at least 95 percent “organic.” Farmers must undergo extensive – and expensive – scrutiny before the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will allow their products to sport the USDA Certified Organic label.

Many people are happy about the new standards, particularly since before they were enacted, almost anyone could tout their products as organic. But the Organic Consumers Association says the standards don’t go far enough.



“Real Grade A organic standards should promote principles of environmental stewardship and social responsibility,” said Ronnie Cummins, spokeswoman for the organization. “They should favor small family or cooperative farms, local distribution and fair trade to assure living wages and decent work conditions for organic producers.”

Other states, including Oregon and California, have stricter standards than the new federal guidelines.



“These standards represent the lowest common denominator of what traditionally has been certified as organic,” she said. “While USDA Organic is certainly safer and better than the chemical-doused, genetically contaminated or irradiated food typically found on grocery store shelves, it is decidedly “Grade B’ organic.”


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