The organic sector has been demonstrating steady growth over the past few years, and one of the ways to increase sales even further is ensuring consumer confidence in what the organic seal stands for. Combatting fraudulent products in the marketplace is a critical factor for enabling the continued success of the organic industry moving forward.
“We’ve worked really hard with the Department of Agriculture to shore up the tools that they have to pursue enforcement in the marketplace,” said Laura Batcha, CEO and Executive Director of the Organic Trade Association. “We’ve also launched a program this year for trade to increase their vigilance on the private sector side.”
One of the educational sessions at this year’s Organic Grower Summit in Monterey focused on the sales of organic products and some of the driving factors for the industry. Batcha noted that 2019 had a series of instances where livestock feed with the organic seal was shown to be falsely represented. As consumers may not always understand the particulars regarding which individual products are misrepresenting the organic sector, it’s important for industry members to be diligent in their efforts to maintain consistency in organic production. “You as a grower, or a shipper, or a distributor need to be able to demonstrate what you’re doing to ensure the supply chain and the traceability of the program,” said Batcha.
According to the 2019 Organic Industry Survey, the organic market set a new record of nearly $52.5 billion in sales last year. Due to the size and scope of the organic market, it’s the responsibility of all industry members to maintain the integrity of the organic seal.
“There are some places where the grower to the consumer is a short supply chain and it’s very controlled, and there are some places where it’s a global supply chain,” said Batcha. “We need the government to do their part because we’re a regulated marketplace. But the industry also needs to do their part and shore up their systems and make sure that they’re confident in everything they’re doing.”