We must pressure the federal government to police unscrupulous global players. Action Alert!
We’ve been telling you about the influx of fake organic grain imported from overseas. It’s especially infuriating that the USDA seems to recognize this problem but is doing very little about it. A 2016 USDA report highlights one such challenge:
As organic production and consumption in Turkey grow, so too do the concerns about fraudulent organic products and lack of inspections. According to a EUROPOL report, some Turkish companies have been involved in relabeling or repackaging products as organic and bringing the counterfeit products into the European Union, even though the products do not meet the organic standards.
One Turkish organic certifier, ETKO, seems to be egregiously at fault. Canada and the European Union have singled out ETKO for its fraudulent certifications and “decertified” the firm —meaning that ETKO-certified organic products are no longer accepted as organic.
The USDA had problems with ETKO as far back as 2009 but, instead of decertifying this company, actually reached a settlement agreement with them in 2016. The firm is now under audit by USDA. We asked the status of the audit and were told that the agency is still gathering data and will be done “soon.”
As the saying goes, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” ETKO appears to have been fooling people for years, based on Canadian and European action, and it’s time for the USDA to do its job and decertify this company. Not only do consumers unwittingly purchase products falsely labeled by the government as organic, but organic farmers in the US are also affected as they have to compete with fraudulent goods.
Action Alert! Write to Congress, with a copy to the USDA, urging lawmakers to step in to protect consumers and domestic farmers by investigating and if indicated decertifying ETKO. Please send your message immediately.