The Washington Post headline laments “The labels said ‘organic.’ But these massive imports of corn and soybeans weren’t.” Conventional grain shipped to Turkey from the Ukraine, suspiciously became Certified Organic in transit to its final destination in the United States, through the port of Stockton. Another headline posts “Why your ‘organic’ milk may not be organic.” Consumers follow these stories because they care more than ever about how their food is produced and that there is honest identification of origin and methods. That’s a lot more information than they can count on from product labels, but fortunately there are still a few Newspapers left in the Country that allow talented reporters to do ‘deep dives’ with investigative reporting for long form stories. The Washington Post is clearly one of the leaders of this type of journalism and Peter Whoriskey is that sort of curious professional investigative journalist. Peter is the author of these and other food/health based articles in the Washington Post. He joins us for a Farm To Table conversation about past, present and future reports on false identification in the food system.
Reports like these start wheels turning. The Cornucopia Institute raised questions about large scale organic farming. The California Certified Organic Farmers (a certification agency) in a letter to the Editor points out that organic certification is rigorous with agencies deputized by the USDA to review detailed farm plans and inspect each operation at least once annually. Government policy is effected by the news too. A new federal Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices rule is pending. A Chinese farmer admits that he can’t meet US Organic standards because of extreme water and air pollution contamination in China. Congressional oversight committees schedule hearings on these issues. Meanwhile Peter Whoriskey and his Washington Post editor keep an eye out for more stories that the “clicks” show that their readers care about a great deal.