Bonnie Modugno, MS, RD - Fraud at Certified Organic Farmer’s Markets
October 28, 2010
Organic food is the fastest growing segment of the food market. I am both saddened and outraged that there are people who betray the consumer’s trust in this noble effort to bring farmers and consumers together in a synergistic and profitable way.
In today’s LA TImes Food Section, David Karp reports that some vendors at California Certified Organic Farmer’s Markets (CDFA) have been defrauding consumers. Offending vendors have tried to sell produce that is conventionally grown or that they didn’t grow themselves. Some vendors claim product is pesticide free when laboratory tests show that it isn’t.
CHEATERS ARE SUSPENDED
Since NBC news broke the story and exposed the cheaters, the peddlers have suspended by county authorities for cheating. But the worst fallout is what happens when consumer confidence and trust has been betrayed.
There are many challenges to decreasing the fraud outlined in the LA Times article. Proposals for both short term and longer term issues are addressed.
OPPORTUNITY TO BE PART OF THE SOLUTION
In addition, CDFA listening sessions will be held Monday, November 1st, at the Main Santa Monica Public Library (601 Santa Monica Boulevard) from 5:30-7:30 PM. Other sites include Fresno on Wednesday, and Berkeley on Nov 8.
I visited my first farm this last August and made a promise to visit more. Sadly, neither me or my good intentions went anywhere else. I think that will change. Maybe a new farm every month is a bit ambitious, so I going to try for at least one every two months. If I am able to visit more, its all good.
I know the satisfaction I get when I speak to the vendors at Coleman Family Farm. I appreciate the bounty and trust the product. I want to feel that trust about every vendor I visit. I have already invited myself to McGrath Family Farms in Ventura, Polito Family Farms in Valley Center and Organic Pastures in Fresno. They are first on my list.