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Warning: Think Twice About Buying Any Organic Food that Contains DHA or ARA

Earlier this year, I wrote a post about DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid), an unapproved additive in certain organic foods and organic milk.

Companies were adding DHA and ARA (Arachidonic acid) into their products because they are omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, respectively, and also provide a unique marketing angle. (A majority of the organic food companies are sourcing their DHA and ARA from Martek Bioscienes Corporation.)

This is all fine and good except for the fact that Martek’s DHA and ARA are synthetic and something antithetic to everything that certified organic stands for.

At the recent USDA/National Organic Standards Board meeting in Savannah, Georgia, the issue of DHA and ARA was discussed and voted on. Needless to say, the decision was a big loss for organic consumers.

The National Organic Standards Board decided that DHA and ARA would be allowed in certified organic products but that no hexane could be used in the processing of these additives. Hexane is a neurotoxin, a by-product of gasoline in petroleum and is considered a hazardous air pollutant by the EPA.

There are two problems here.

1) Even though hexane is no longer permitted, the ruling did not specify that other “synthetic solvents”, which have the potential to be more dangerous, could not be used in the processing of DHA or ARA.

2) The Organic Consumers Association is reporting that Martek’s DHA and ARA still do not meet the standards of certified organic. Why?

A detailed review of Martek’s patents reveal that the company is:

*** Using genetic-modification in the manufacturing process for DHA –> something not allowed under USDA certified organic regulations.

*** Using genetically-modified corn in the manufacturing process for DHA –> something not allowed under USDA certified organic regulations.

It is an understatement to say that this situation is appalling.


Without a question, I am avoiding all certified organic products that use added DHA or ARA.

As I mentioned in my previous post about this subject, The Cornucopia Institute provided a list of some products that contain Martek’s DHA or ARA. They 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)

Happy Bellies
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
Similac Organic
Vermont Organics

If you know anyone who has infants or babies, please forward this post to them. It is ESSENTIAL that they are not feeding their children anything that contains questionable ingredients.

Unfortunately in this case, the National Organic Standards Board has been influenced by big corporations and is not doing enough to protect organic consumers.

A message from Tradin Organic

Why Tradin Organic is Prioritizing Regenerative Organic Farming

At Tradin Organic, we believe that regenerative organic farming is key to growing healthy and nutritious food ingredients — for now and for future generations.

And in Sierra Leone, we have grown the world’s first Regenerative Organic Certified cacao.

Learn more.

livingmaxwell: a guide to organic food & drink