Tighten Organic Labeling Standards

Target: Sonny Perdue, Secretary, Department of Agriculture

Goal: Rigorously vet the purity and quality of organic foods.

The demand for organic food in the United States has increased dramatically in recent years. This has led to intensifying pressure on the Department of Agriculture from industry to loosen standards by which products are assessed for qualification as “organic.”

Net sales of organic products topped $43 billion in 2015, following over a decade of double-digit sales growth. Organics are sold in over 20,000 stores in the United States, including 75 percent of national grocery chains such as Safeway and Kroger.

Organic products are typically marketed as being free from additives, pesticides and raised without antibiotics or hormones in the case of animal protein. Consumers pay a significant premium for the promise of higher quality. A review conducted by Consumer Reports found that organic foods were, on average, 47 percent more expensive than their non-organic counterparts.

Department of Agriculture standards frequently allow for non-organic products to qualify for organic labeling. Studies conducted by the USDA found that close to 40 percent of organic foods regularly test positive for prohibited pesticides. Inorganic additives are also allowed, in contradiction to widely regarded standards. This includes organic milk marketed as containing healthy omega-3 fatty acids, with the organic designation implying that they occurred naturally, however language is not featured with a caveat that the acids were synthetically produced in an industrial lab.

Consumers deserve to have confidence that high-cost and supposedly higher-quality foods are actually held to a rigorous standard. Please sign the below petition calling on the Department of Agriculture to review its criteria for organic food products.


Dear Secretary Perdue,

I am writing to urge that you review the current USDA criteria for granting ‘organic’ status to food products. Studies published by your department indicate that close to 40 percent of organics contain prohibited pesticides.

On average, consumers pay a 47 percent premium for the promise of safe, high-quality organic food. They should have confidence that each product with an organic label has been held to an elevated standard. Please ensure more rigorous standards for organic foods.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: TheImpulsiveBuy

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  1. I have noticed that some of the fruits labeled as organic look and taste just as plastic and tasteless as regular fruits. And they cost 2 or 3 times as much.
    Organic should mean organic, not just a higher price.

  2. Gen Lovyet Agustsson says:

    label it or nothing at all!

  3. Kumar N. says:

    Right now organic doesn’t mean the fair treatment of animals, such as on factory farms. It should! Everything should be free from abuse.

    • lee whitehall says:

      I don’t know where you live but here in the UK organic means chemical free wherever you look. The only way to stop all abuse is to go vegan. Just saying!

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