Tip of the Iceberg Report: Fraudulent Certified Organic Products from China

titanic cat book
The Titanic ignored the warning, and look what happened to them

For the second time this year the USDA is warning organic distributors of fake certified organic products coming from China. Earlier this year on February 11, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) publicly released evidence of fraud by a Chinese organic agricultural marketer. The agency’s National Organic Program (NOP) made public a fraudulent organic certificate produced by an uncertified supplier in China. The Chinese firm used the counterfeit certificate to represent non-organic crops, including soybeans, millet and buckwheat, as certified organic. Food Safety News reports it’s happened again:

The U.S., the Department of Agriculture is nonetheless warning organic distributors and processors to be aware of a fraudulent organic certificate being circulated by an uncertified operation in China.

The certificate falsely represents hibiscus, jasmine and beet root extract powders as being organic under National Organic Program (NOP) regulations, the USDA said in a news release Wednesday.
That constitutes a violation of the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990, the regulator said. Any use of the organic certificate or other fraudulent documents to market, label, or sell non-organic agricultural products as organic may result in a civil penalty of up to $11,000 per violation.
“It’s important the organic industry is aware of these sorts of attempts to deceive the organic system,” said Ruihong Guo, associate deputy administrator of the National Organic Program. “We’re continuing to remain vigilant to these attempts so organic standards are protected.”
titanic cats

The co-director of The Cornucopia Institute, Mark A. Kastel reminds us, “Unfortunately, this incident also serves as a stark reminder that imports from China are fraught with peril.” What the warning tells us that we must be vigilant in avoiding any ingredients, certified organic or otherwise, from China. We must also remember that pet food and animal feed are only extensions of the human food industry, the waste left over from manufacturing human food products are diverted to the pet food and animal feed industries.

What happened when the USDA did finally sent auditors to China for the first time in 2007, a full five years after the federal organic standards took effect? Well, in the entire country of China the USDA auditors only inspected two farms and two processors, finding serious violations at the time. No follow-up inspections were conducted to determine whether the noncompliances identified were aberrations or symptomatic of systemic problems.
Soybeans, Poverty and Crime

Imported soybeans are often shipped to the U.S. by corporations knowing nothing about the origin of the commodities over and above a single sheet of paper.  Organic soybeans imported from China have become a prevalent source of animal feed used on industrial-scale organic livestock operations. Today’s release by the USDA of another falsified organic certificate from China confirms my concern.

Organic Industry Structure Who Owns What

Incredible, huh? I swear I am not xenophobic, in fact, I really feel kind of sorry for the poor Chinese people.  Do I feel sorry for criminals who poison the food supply? Of course not. Personally, I’d like to kill the bastards who put the melamine in wheat gluten with my bare hands, but I do pity anyone so poverty-stricken and desperate to survive that they are willing to risk being shot at gunpoint or thrown in jail for the rest of their natural life just to make a few more yen.

Does that mean if I was poor as a church mouse I would contaminate the food supply? Hell no. But if I were, I might not hesitate to rip-off the US government or any other large corporation that was on my shit list. But then, I wouldn’t be risking getting executed, the most that would happen to me would be that I might be sent to Federal prison.  But, as a friend I knew once told me, who had been there for years (don’t ask), said Federal prison is known as Club Fed.  They call it “easy time”. You get to read books all day, take college classes, practice yoga, take knitting classes, work in the library and learn all sorts of new skills from other criminals. Sounds like a relaxing vacation to me!
Weird But True Titanic Trivia
I have the same name as Molly Brown (the unsinkable), my middle name is Brownell (my Mom’s favorite art teacher, thanks Mom).  I’d like to think of myself as the heroine of the Titanic, but I’d rather think I was reincarnated from Marylin Monroe: my Mom almost named me Marilyn, because I was born one day after she kicked the bucket. Mom changed her mind, because she decided it was “too creepy”. OK, now you know how old I am, but don’t I look fabulous for 49? Just say yes, or you’re in deep shit.
MM and cat
Read More About It
USDA Alerts Organic Industry of Fraudulent National Organic Program Certificate| USDA News Release | August 30, 2011
Food Safety in China, and the Risk to the US | Wired Science | August 23, 2011
USDA Uncovers Plot to Import Fake Chinese Organic Food | Cornucopia Institute | February 11, 2011
China’s Making Everything in the US From Bridges to Civil Rights Memorials: That’s a Huge Problem and China’s Not to Blame | AlterNet | September 4, 2011
Infographics by Philip H. Howard| Assistant Professor Michigan State University
Organic Industry Structure | Philip H. Howard | Michigan State University
China Sought to Sell Arms to Qaddafi | New York Times | September 4, 2011
China offered Gadhafi huge stockpiles of arms: Libyan memos | The Globe and Mail | September 2, 2011
Believe It Or Not
Titanic Theme Park & Museum | Branson, Missouri & Pigeon Forge, Tennessee | “The world’s largest museum attraction”

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Mollie Morrissette

Mollie Morrissette, the author of Poisoned Pets, is an animal food safety expert and consumer advisor. Help support her work by making a donation today.

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