Spot Check

Twenty years on, the Department of Agriculture will beef up its enforcement of laws requiring organic food to be spot checked for pesticides responding to the industry's rapid growth in recent years.

Twenty years on, the Department of Agriculture will beef up its enforcement of laws requiring organic food to be spot checked for pesticides responding to the industry's rapid growth in recent years. "The Department of Agriculture said on Friday that it would begin enforcing rules requiring the spot testing of organically grown foods for traces of pesticides, after an auditor exposed major gaps in federal oversight of the organic food industry. Spot testing is required by a 1990 law that established the basis for national organic standards, but in a report released on Thursday by the office of Phyllis K. Fong, the inspector general of agriculture, investigators wrote that regulators never made sure the testing was being carried out. The report pointed to numerous shortcomings at the agriculture department’s National Organic Program, which regulates the industry, including poor oversight of some organic operations overseas and a lack of urgency in cracking down on marketers of bogus organic products. The audit did not name growers or processors that marketed products falsely labeled organic or say where any such products had been sold. "

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An Atlantic horseshoe crab in an aquarium. Photo: Domdomegg via Wikimedia Commons.
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