Washington, D.C.—Beyond Pesticides, a public interest organization founded in 1981 to advocate for healthy air, water, land, and food by eliminating the use of pesticides, has announced the formation of its new investigative arm, OrganicEye, in a press release. The agency will focus on defending the philosophy and legal definition of organic farming and food production.
The release contends that, as organic agriculture and marketing has grown into an over $50 billion industry, corporate agribusiness has influenced USDA to shift primary organic production from family-scale farms to large livestock factories, while allowing hydroponic/soilless greenhouses and fraudulent imports, all of which are devastating to ethical farmers, businesses, and consumers.
Mark Kastel will serve as the organization’s director. Kastel is one of the founders of The Cornucopia Institute, an organic farm-policy research group. He has over 30 years of involvement in the organic industry.
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Kastel said in the release: “We launch this project with the backdrop of thousands of cases of fraud submitted to the USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP), a number of independent audits by the agency’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) criticizing their weak oversight of certifiers and poor record of bringing fraudulent operations to justice.”
Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides, said in the release: “Trusted certified organic production must continue to offer a healthier marketplace alternative and critical environmental protection.”
OrganicEye’s first official action was to send formal letters urging the OIG and Government Accountability Office to investigate NOP’s recent enforcement failures.
OrganicEye has established a toll-free hotline, 1-844-EYE-TIPS (844-393-8477), to gather confidential tips from the public on threats to organic integrity.