<<Since the federal organic regulations are far from being in place, are
states such as California and private certification agencies still
certifying organic produce and other products?
<<Albertson's is carrying ''organic'' cauliflower from Torrence,
California that does not have the California certification act or any
certification agency label. Do I assume that this has not been
certified and therefore, may or may not be organic?>>
Until the federal organic regulations are implemented, the current organic
rules should stay the same (unless someone overtly changes them).
California will still be "registering" farmers in California who want to
say they are growing organically (California doesn't "certify" farmers -
only the certifying agencies do that).
In terms of a labeling, my understanding is:
(1) if they're in Calif. claiming to be organic, they need to be registered
with California, who might check in on them (certifying agencies do a
higher level of checking but cost the farmer more)
(2) if they're registered and are claiming to be organic, they need to
label their food "Organically grown in accordance with the California
Organic Foods Act of 1990" (or "grown and processed," as the case may be)
(3) if they're also certified by a certifying agency, they can put
information on that agency on the label too.
I believe this is true, even if the produce is sold out of state.
So, I think it's reasonable to ask Albertson's for labelling information.
Did you ask to see the original box? Perhaps it was on the box and they
just didn't think it was important to put on the sign? By the way, this
attention to the chain of proof (and a commitment to organic authenticity)
might be easier to find in a health food store than in a chain store where
organics aren't the focus of what they do.
Another variable might be the laws in your state - do they have organic
laws in La? Do they give any rules about the claims stores can make about
food that comes from other states? I don't know if loopholes can creep in
By the way, it's exactly this transfer between states that (good) national
standards can make easier and more reliable. Until we can get good
national standards though, while we can be watchful in cases like yours, I
don't think we should let the drama of the proposed national standards make
us overly suspicious of the veracity of organic food. Though there's
always the risk of charlatans in any human endeavor, there are also many
wonderful organic farmers doing a good job out there, serving us all, and
they (understandably) get a little weary about their truthfulness always
being questioned, while mainstream ag uses so many highly toxic materials
every day. Of course, if you're concerned, buying from a store that's
committed to true organic will increase your odds (and it supports their
Best regards -
Community Action Publications
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