> > I lived in Colombia for a couple years. In comparison, the US is a
> > paragon of honesty, integrity and efficiency, plus crime of all
> sorts is
> > way, WAY lower.
> Are you kidding? Some example you picked!
Yeah! That's a good point, but it is the only example I have.
> All anyone needs to do is know who grew and/or certified the product.
Don't you think it is a little unreasonable to expect consumers to know
the grower and their operation personally? What you are really saying
is that you are willing, as a producer, to accept a tiny, purely local
market. Probably, many organic farmers don't feel that way.
> Why are some folks so anxious to have the federal government (which
> already has plenty to do in areas that are within their scope - how
> about a getting a little more research done on bio-control, for
> instance), step in between the grower and the consumer? Consumers
> were never the driving force for OFPA, it was the marketers (and would
I share your distaste for public regulation. Maybe this would be better
done by a private certifying agency. The seed industry, as an example,
is regulated in two ways: first, the Seed Law is basically a
truth-in-labeling law (with some teeth), and also restricts dispersal of
weed species that are harmful. This is the public part. The law also
mandates the establishment of certifying agencies to certify quality.
These are quasi-public institutions, one for each state, that inspect
and test seed. They are shielded from (public) political influence,
since they do not answer to public institutions. But, the public
"teeth" enforce the certification of the private certifying agency as a
truth-in-labeling issue. Of course, the certifying agencies are not
immune to strong influence from the big companies, since it is these
companies that mainly support the agency through check-off payments.
BTW, there is a tremendous amount of research on biocontrol. I did it
as a public researcher, and I'm doing some now. Much of this never gets
published because it doesn't work. In a perfect world it would be
published anyway, but that's life in academia.
> I myself am not opposed to either a (legitimate) legal defination of
> organic nor a USDA administered organic program. I AM opposed to
> mandatory certification, and the usurpation of the term organic by a
> goverment only too sensitive to private interests that are either
> affluent or by coincidence have managed to develope a cozy
> with a few of the powers that be within the Agency (and I don't mean
> with the foot soldiers).
I couldn't agree with you more. However it is administered, go ahead
and provide organic certification, call it "certified" organic, but why
try to restrict the use of the term "organic" itself? After all, there
is a history to the term. Then, consumers have a choice. If they want
the government stamp of certification, they can have it (and probably
pay more). If they are satisfied with regular "organic" (let the buyer
beware) then fine.
> In commerce, the meaning of the word organic must remain relevant to a
> series of land husbandry and growing methods and not a certification
> procedure, which will clearly establish a class of organic high
> who both work less and are much less important than they'd like others
> to think they are.
What you are saying here may contradict what you said in the previous
paragraph. Only "certified organic" could have a commercial definition.
Regular "organic" would be, basically, whatever the producer believed,
personally, to be "organic."
> Why fence off the range when the situation is not out of control as
I don't know. Who is pushing for regulation of organic foods anyway? I
assumed it was organic farmers.
> And there's a big difference between drawing lines and putting up
But having government-enforced certification requires some teeth to mean
anything. Suppose (post certification) I illegally market something as
"certified organic" when in reality it isn't. The organic police are
going to fine me big time. Right? On the other hand, if I just market
it as regular organic (let the buyer beware), I can sell whatever I
want, and it is none of the government's damned business. The "teeth"
constitute the "fence."
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