Letter to the Editor, The Wall Street Journal
April 19, 2005
Dear Editor of The Wall Street Journal:
Thank you for publishing Katy McClaughlin's article ("Is Your Tofu Biodynamic? Making Sense of the Latest Organic Food Terminology") aimed at educating consumers on various ecolabels on food.
The Organic Trade Association (OTA) would like to point out that organic is the only certified program that is nationally enforceable. National organic standards outline practices that all certified organic operations must meet, regardless of size, in order to label their products as organic. With the organic label, consumers have the reassurance that producers and processors follow practices that took many years of deliberations to set in place. If a farm or operation fails to meet these standards, it can lose its certification and face fines for false claims.
A product can be labeled organic and carry another label, such as "local." Remember, a "local" label, by itself, doesn't necessarily mean sustainable practices were used. Nor does the Food Alliance label require organic practices.
OTA worked toward the adoption of national organic standards to reduce consumer confusion over product labels and to give them the assurance that a product labeled as "organic" truly was produced following organic practices. Without enforceable standards, some ecolabels, sadly, may be used to mislead consumers into believing they are getting something they're not.
Organic Trade Association
P.O. Box 547
Greenfield, MA 01302
Street Address: 60 Wells St., Greenfield, MA 01301
Phone: 413-774-7511, Ext. 17