Friday, 3 July 2009

Debating the organic rule

The most astonishing passage in the Washington Post's fascinating and detailed article about organic standards today comes from Joe Smillie, a member of the National Organics Standards Board (NOSB) and an executive at Quality Assurance International (QAI), a leading organics certifier.

Smillie explains why advocates for a strict interpretation of the organic rule are unrealistic:
"People are really hung up on regulations," said Smillie, who is also vice president of the certifying firm Quality Assurance International, which is involved in certifying 65 percent of organic products found on supermarket shelves. "I say, 'Let's find a way to bend that one, because it's not important.' . . . What are we selling? Are we selling health food? No. Consumers, they expect organic food to be growing in a greenhouse on Pluto. Hello? We live in a polluted world. It isn't pure. We are doing the best we can."

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