Stop Organic Fraud

The Lempert Report
January 25, 2023

Phil: We've got some good news as it relates to organics. New regulations are being put in place to hopefully get rid of some organic fraud that we've seen over the past few years, especially when it comes to imported products. What's that about, Sally? 

Sally: Well, Phil, apparently this is set to be implemented in 2024, and it is the first time that regulations like this, aggressive regulations have been implemented in about 20 years. So that's a long time that we've been buying organic foods. And nothing has really changed as far as those regulations. But now what they wanna do is they wanna stop fraud. A lot of this fraud is coming from seeds and grains that are used to feed livestock, meat that is raised to be organic or, or, you know, eggs that are raised to be organic eggs. And this is very important to consumers that they feel like they can trust that the product they are buying truly is organic. So there's gonna be some new regulations that are gonna require these operations to improve their record keeping. There's going to be unannounced inspections apparently, and the government will be training agents to handle that. 

Phil: Yeah, I think it's great because especially as organics are so much more expensive. People, not to get ripped off, but the only problem that I take issue with, with this U S D A rule, I think it's great. I think it's important, but they're only saying that they're gonna be able to do spot unannounced inspections for 5% of the operations every year. So 5% of the operations being inspected, I think we're still gonna have a lot of people who want to cheat. 

Sally: Yes. That is a very small number, and I think it's really important for these brands that have organic products to be communicating to their consumers, you know, what their story is, where their food is coming from, where it is made, how it is made so that consumers can feel comfortable buying, trusting their brand. And, you know, it wasn't too long ago that we had some controversy, I believe, at Whole Foods over, you know, whether something was organic or whether it was actually cage free or, you know that they were actually selling things in the store that consumers realized were not being transparent about how, where the foods came from. So it's very, very important that consumers built this trust with the brands that they buy from. 

Phil: You know, you're bringing up something that I meant to bring up on the previous story about eggs, but I got an email this morning from someone who is taking issue with Kroger. What they're doing is they're saying, you know, Kroger has not met its promise to go all cage free by 20, I guess it was 2022 or 2023. And they're really taking issue with it. And, and, you know, contemplating having a lawsuit, Hey, you know, something, Kroger and every other retailer should be offering all kinds of eggs, whether it be free range, whether it's cage free, whether it's conventional eggs. And the reason for that, especially as these prices are going through the roof, is let's, let's not forget that cage-free is nonsense. Cage-free just means having about a square foot of space that a chicken can turn a he can turn around in. It doesn't mean that they're happy-go-lucky chickens. So I think, you know, what, what we really need is clarity, as you point out, whether it's on organics or cage-free or anything. And in the bullseye, we're gonna talk a lot about that.