Photo: Sharyn Morrow (flickr)
Last week, the USDA revoked the accreditation of Certified Organic, Inc (COI) and Guaranteed Organic Certification Agency (GOCA), citing that both organizations breached their responsibilities as organic regulators.
As reported by Marion Nestle, the USDA said GOCA overlooked when producers would violate organic standards.
COI, on the other hand, has been accused of failing to do much more, including ensuring adequate training for their employees about regulations and identifying its responsibility to pay for any required pre- or post-harvest testing. But perhaps the most incriminating claim is that COI did not “verify organic system plans against the actual practices of their certified operations.”
A Growing Industry
The U.S. organics market is worth $21.1 billion and presents many opportunities for investors, especially now that the government is providing monetary and regulatory support for organic foods. California leads the country in organic sales, while Wyoming, Texas, New Mexico, Wisconsin, and South Dakota show strong organic markets as well.
The U.S. organic food market is the second largest in the world, and it is expected to grow 11.9 percent by 2015.
The economic success of organic foods in an American market rests on trust. Consumers have to know that the produce they receive meets strict organic guidelines or they will not pay the high premiums for food labeled as such.