Organic Industry Rocked By Synthetics

Judging by the comments we’ve received on the two California companies who were suspected of adding synthetic fertilizer to purportedly organic products I’m not the only one who’s disturbed by these developments. Like it or not, those growing and selling organic vegetables are trading on the belief of the consumers. Violating that belief is dangerous.

In fact, I’m somewhat surprised there hasn’t been more outrage from organic consumers. That might be due to the fact that these stories haven’t seen greater play in consumer media, whether on TV, in newspapers, or on the Internet. I have no idea why these developments haven’t seen more publicity, as in my experience, nothing boosts viewership like these “scare” stories. Whatever the reason, organic growers should feel fortunate that the stories haven’t been more widely publicized.

In case you’re not familiar with the details, both cases involved large companies — at least in terms of the organic fertilizer market — allegedly adding a synthetic fertilizer, ammonium sulfate, to what were allegedly organic products. One company, California Liquid Fertilizer, which was based near Salinas,
reportedly held as much as one-third of the California market in 2006. The other, Port Organic Products Ltd. of Bakersfield, reportedly produces nearly half the state’s liquid organic fertilizer.

A few weeks ago, federal agents raided Port Organics Products. And that came just a few weeks after it was reported that despite the fact that California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) officials were notified of a problem with California Liquid Fertilizer in June 2004, CDFA did not order California Liquid Fertilizer to remove its product, Biolizer XN, from the organic market until January 2007.

Does the industry require more scrutiny? These developments clearly suggest that it does. Consumers who purchase organic vegetables do so based on the faith that those products are, in fact, organically grown. Violating that faith could mean losing those consumers, especially for larger growers who don’t have direct contact with their customers. But in the meantime, it’s incumbent on all involved in the industry to be increasingly vigilant. It’s a lot easier to retain consumers’ trust than it is to get it back after it’s gone.

Leave a Reply

2 comments on “Organic Industry Rocked By Synthetics

  1. As one who buys organic products, I believe that anyone in the chain from seed to market that violate the rules should be suspended for three years and THEN begin the three year re-certification with additional probational reporting for a period after that. Also, the name of the offending business should be listed as such with the governing bodies website and made available to the public. If you can’t make a living going by the rules then do something else.

  2. As one who buys organic products, I believe that anyone in the chain from seed to market that violate the rules should be suspended for three years and THEN begin the three year re-certification with additional probational reporting for a period after that. Also, the name of the offending business should be listed as such with the governing bodies website and made available to the public. If you can’t make a living going by the rules then do something else.

Featured Stories

All Vegetables Stories >All Fruits Stories >All Nuts Stories >All Citrus Stories >

The Latest

CitrusHarness The Marketing Power Of Video
September 1, 2014
Multimedia platform is an effective and inexpensive marketing tool for you to attract new customers and keep existing ones loyal to your brand. Read More
Citrus Achievement AwardDespite Industry Challenges, Florida Citrus Leader Has …
September 1, 2014
2014 Florida Grower Citrus Achievement Award winner Mike Sparks feels confident in crop sector's ability to regain strength. Read More
Florida Ag ExpoFood Safety Modernization Act Is On The Plate
September 1, 2014
Florida Ag Expo agenda to serve up important features of looming regulations. Read More
CEU SeriesCEU Series: Put Weeds Out To Pasture
September 1, 2014
No matter where they are, plants out of place can be problematic. Read More
TomatoesProduction Reaches An All-Time High For Processing Toma…
August 29, 2014
A record high is predicted for the 2014 processing tomato crop. Read More
CitrusFlorida Department Of Citrus Knocks NPR Piece Over Juic…
August 28, 2014
Agency goes to bat for the industry regarding statement slighting OJ's health benefits. Read More
Disease ControlLate Blight Update Reveals Heightened Activity
August 28, 2014
While several states in the Northeast have confirmed the presence of late blight, the disease has not been reported in North Dakota or Minnesota. Read More
CitrusFlorida Energy Firm Charged Up About Citrus Biomass Pot…
August 28, 2014
Machine called a game-changer when it comes to a cost-effective, efficient way for tree removal and re-purposing. Read More
EquipmentNew Tractors Improve Maneuverability And Operator Contr…
August 28, 2014
The Magnum Rowtrac tractors from Case IH meet growers’ cropping needs through a wide variety of row spacing and belt options.   Read More
NutsCalifornia County Passes Ordinance To Protect Walnut Gr…
August 27, 2014
Verification of ownership needed to complete sales of valuable nuts. Read More
NutsAlmond Growers Hit By Russian Import Limits
August 27, 2014
Growers reflect on changes to export market in light of produce ban. Read More
Farm ManagementLeadership And Management Expert To Speak At California…
August 27, 2014
Daniel Goleman will make presentation at California State University-Fresno. Read More
CitrusNational Scientific Summit On Herbicide Resistant Weeds…
August 27, 2014
Topics to be covered include the economics of proactively managing herbicide resistance, education and outreach efforts, and incentives and regulatory initiatives. Read More
FruitsFlorida Organic Group Dedicated To Serving Growers, Com…
August 27, 2014
Education and development programs are plentiful for interested producers. Read More
VegetablesExperimental Herbicide Technology Blasts Weeds In Rows
August 27, 2014
The technology uses an air compressor to spray corncob grit on both sides of a crop, killing young weeds. Read More
Disease ControlFungal Disease Outbreak Hits Pacific Northwest Vegetabl…
August 27, 2014
An outbreak of blackleg, light leaf spot, and white leaf spot can be significant problems in several vegetable crops.   Read More
CitrusClean Water Conundrum: Ditch The Rule Or Ditch The Myth…
August 26, 2014
Regulation inundation causing a rising tide of confusion for farmers. Read More
BerriesMichigan State University Extension Offers Tips To Prev…
August 26, 2014
Humidity, rainy periods conducive to disease development. Read More