U.S. government cracks down on scammy organic labels
The government has new rules to determine what's really organic and what's a sham.
Why it matters: The term "organic" has been stretched over the years as these foods become increasingly popular — and pricey. Products labeled organic that don't meet government standards are hitting store shelves.
Case in point: The Justice Department recently charged several individuals in a multimillion-dollar scheme to sell ordinary soybeans from Eastern Europe as organic in the U.S.
- Organic soybeans cost up to 50% more than their nonorganic counterparts.
Driving the news: The Department of Agriculture is cracking down on fakes with its biggest-ever overhaul of organic guidelines, released Thursday.
- The changes include requiring those in the middle — such as traders and brokers — to be certified alongside the food producers themselves, per the Washington Post. There will also be more inspections and required certification for imports.
The big picture: U.S. organic food sales hit $57.5 billion in 2021 — more than double what they were about a decade ago, per Food Dive.
Reality check: "Though some consumers view 'organic' as a synonym for 'healthy,' the science on whether organic food is healthier is mixed," the Washington Post's Laura Reiley writes.