How Culturally Diverse Is Your Organic Food?


Organic is good. Especially good for the agribusiness when the United States Department of Agriculture fudges details about what organic means and how certification of organic works.

According to the USDA, cultural diversity is a vital part of what goes into organic (so to speak). Don’t misunderstand: cultural diversity is OK. It works beautifully in music, art, literature, employment practices and on HBO. But what are the criteria for the USDA seal to endorse cultural diversity? How is certification of cultural diversity verified?

For example, how does the USDA check up on how the Earthbound Farm people get cultural diversity into their broccoli? Are Eli and Ali smiling because they just learned to samba? If so, how does that count or make their tomatoes better?

I am researching this stuff. More blog posts to follow. But the certifiers are not quick to respond to email, letters, and phone calls. It’s almost as if they are stonewalling. In any event, when the USDA gets into agriculture, consumers should pay attention. The USDA’s mission is to further the interests of the agribusiness industry, even at the expense of label clarity, faulty certification and absence of procedures that supposedly insure purity and catch harmful substances.

As for a consumer-useful definition of organic, it is up there with local and fresh.  A reason to hope is the USDA definition for seedless, as in seedless watermelons: Up to 10 black seeds qualify a seedless watermelon as seedless. Hearings were held to increase the limit to 16. The outcome remains unknown.

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