Although restaurants in the United States offering organic food don’t need to be certified to do so, one fast casual restaurant has chosen that route to become the first USDA certified organic fast food restaurant chain in the nation—a fact it has trademarked.
In the Summer 2017 Organic Report, we featured an article entitled “Organic fraud prompts action on import verification” describing the various avenues the Organic Trade Association was pursing to address organic fraud after the discovery of fraudulent soybean imports from Turkey. In addition to the trade association’s 2018 Farm Bill priorities that include a call for increased trade oversight, we reported on the Global Organic Supply Chain Integrity Task Force that had convened.
The continued success of our organic sector demands that organic standards be robust, consistent and clear to stay meaningful and maintain the integrity of organic and the organic seal.
Twenty organic farmers—including one major league baseball player—stepped up to the plate for thousands of organic farmers throughout the country when they came to Washington in November to participate in the Organic Trade Association’s first Farmers Advisory Council fly-in and talk with lawmakers and policy officials about organic priorities in the 2018 Farm Bill.
Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are stepping up to support the advancement of organic agriculture in the United States. These organic champions are publicly advocating for an equal playing field for organic farmers, more research devoted to organic-specific production challenges, and adequate funds for the National Organic Program to maintain the integrity of organic, prevent fraud and uphold organic’s strict standards.
As CEO of an organic marketing company that represents over four thousand acres of organic permanent crop production and more than one hundred and fifty different growers, there are always more than enough concerns to go around, from water, to labor, to new crop diseases. As if that were not enough, all of us, as organic industry players, are fighting the continued struggle of protecting the image and integrity of our common brand and mission: Organic.
LUNDBERG FAMILY FARMS has partnered with Thai Organic & Fairtrade Agriculture Group—a network of Thai rice farmers—to bring organic, Fair Trade Certified™ Thai Hom Mali Jasmine Rice to U.S. retail shelves. The rice is grown in the Mekong River Valley of Thailand’s Amnat Charoen Province. The rice products are available in four pre-cooked microwavable pouches—white, brown, red, and red and white blend (www.lundberg.com).
Amy’s Kitchen has broken ground in Goshen, NY, for the construction of a 369,000-square-foot manufacturing and distribution center. Completion is scheduled for 2018, and will create 700 new jobs.
Aurora Organic Dairy Corp. is investing $100 million to build a new dairy processing and warehouse facility in Columbia, MO, to help facilitate distribution to the eastern United States. The company expects the plant to be fully operational in 2019.