2017 Organic Food and Farming News|
by Alex Cosper, Wednesday, May 17, 2017
The USDA reports on its website in 2017 that there are nearly 20,000 natural food stores in the United States. You will notice, however, that many stores that promote themselves as "health food" or "natural food" only sell a small percentage of organic food, which uses the least amount of chemicals, whereas the term "natural" is not clearly defined by the FDA, meaning it can mean anything. Close to 75% of conventional stores carry organic food products, since it has grown to become a $40 billion industry.
This year a series of stories have made the news how companies have been fraudulently marketing food as organic as an attempt to charge higher prices. Organic Authority reported on May 15, 2017 that 36 million pounds of conventional soy beans falsely labeled as organic were shipped from Turkey to California in December, uncovered by the Washington Post. It caused organic watchdog group Cornucopia to respond with a letter to the USDA Secretary, calling for a resolution to the "gross incompetence and corruption" among members of the National Organic Program.
The USDA reported that at the end of 2016 there were 25,000 organic farms in the United States and over 37,000 in the world. Growth in new organic farms in America was 13% from 2015 to 2016. At the start of the century there were between 6 and 7,000 organic farms across the nation, which stayed steady until a big increase in 2006 to over 11,000 organic farms. By 2008 there were over 15,000 organic farms. Growth remained steady throughout the decade, surpassing 20,000 organic farms in 2015.
People need to wake up about the food they're putting into their bodies. Most conventional food is treated with a wide range of chemicals. Some of these chemicals may be harmful to your health. The reason you should be concerned is that the FDA doesn't test food for safety. They leave that chore up to corporations to police themselves. Consequently, it usually takes decades for the FDA to respond to independent studies that reveal a certain product is unhealthy. Many foods contain petro chemicals in food coloring that are now linked to cancer. But not enough outrage has forced the FDA to take a closer look at artificial colors and flavors.
The USDA announced in January 2017 that it was redefining the term "organic" to be more animal-friendly. The new, stricter definition was set to be implemented a few months later to give farmers a chance to learn and prepare for the new standards so they can continue using the organic label. Under new rules, farmers must give animals daily access to vegetation or soil, along with new minimum space requirements. It also prohibits acts that physically alter animals, such as de-beaking.