When I was at the Expo West trade show recently, I came across Horizon Organic Milk with DHA Omega-3 and was impressed at first glance. I thought to myself that this looks like a pretty interesting dairy product.
Yet several days after returning back to NYC and just as I was about to write a post about this organic milk, I received an email from The Cornucopia Institute, a watchdog for the organic industry.
The Cornucopia Institute has condemned the USDA for allowing products containing unapproved synthetic additives (DHA Omega-3, as one of them) to be labeled “organic” for an indefinite grace period.
Furthermore, The Cornucopia Institute has filed legal complaints against infant formula manufacturers and Dean Foods, manufacturer of Horizon dairy products, for adding unapproved additives: Martek Biosciences Corporation’s omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids (DHA/ARA), derived chemically from fermented algae and fungus, to foods with the organic label.
Shockingly and inexplicably, the USDA has declared these additives illegal and yet will do nothing to enforce its own rules.
Charlotte Vallaeys, Farm and Food Policy Analyst with The Cornucopia Institute, says that “Federal law clearly states that synthetic additives must be approved by the USDA, through a formal petition process, assuring their safety before they can legally be added to foods with the organic label. Martek’s Crypthecodinium cohnii and Schizochytrium oils (sources of DHA) and Mortierella alpina oil (a source of ARA) have never been approved, and the USDA has once again caved to industry lobbyists.”
A lawsuit against the USDA is something that The Cornucopia Institute is strongly considering. If it does move forward with one, it would follow in the footsteps of The Center for Food Safety, who filed a lawsuit against the USDA over the recent decision to allow genetically-engineered alfalfa.
As an organic food lover, hearing about how the USDA continues to undermine the integrity of the National Organic Program is incredibly disturbing.
I want to leave you with a few things:
1) If you have not seen the interview I did recently with Andrew Kimbrell, the Executive Director of The Center for Food Safety, please watch it. Please do so.
Andrew calls “Obama worse than Bush” when it comes to protecting organic. It is an eye-opening video and you will get a good idea of what is really going on at the USDA.
2) Be very careful about every product that you are feeding to your family. Read every single ingredient and question everything.
While the National Organic Program is something that I support, it is by no means perfect, things do slip through the cracks and many powerful forces are at work trying to compromise it.
3) According to The Cornucopia Institute, other organic food products for babies and adults are also using Martek’s s unapproved synthetic additives. These companies and products are:
For children and adults
Wegman’s Organic Yogurt (Fruit on the Bottom Super Yogurt)
Horizon Organic Milk
Stremicks Heritage Foods Organic Milk
ZenSoy Soy on the Go
Baby Food (select products contain Martek’s DHA)
Tasty Baby Organic Infant Cereal
Infant Formula (all organic infant formula products contain Martek’s DHA, with the exception of Baby’s Only Organic Toddler Formula)
Bright Beginnings Organic
Earth’s Best Organic
Parent’s Choice Organic
Please forward this blog post to anyone you know who is feeding their children organic baby food. It may contain these synthetic additives that are causing serious health problems to young children.