There has been a change at the U.S. Department of Agriculture that could affect the cost and availability of organic products from developing countries, including bananas, spices, sugar, and coffee. Normally, a farm must undergo an annual inspection to get certified. But for years, co-ops and large growers' groups in the global south have been allowed to largely police themselves, with USDA inspectors visiting 20 percent of each group per year. Now, the agency says every farm needs an annual inspection, an expensive process that may make some small farmers quit the organic biz.
Mr. Bradley,We urge you to reconsider the policy change affecting organically-grown foods from developing countries. As many of these foods are staples of the American diet, the financial impact of removing the organic label from growers, based upon this change, will not only inconvenience American shoppers, but will devastate the economies of these developing nations.Revisiting the current inspection process, and working a little closer with the growers, the co-ops, and the inspectors to ensure integrity is the right thing to do. Mandating a global change to the inspection process is not. Small, family-owned coffee, cocoa, and banana plantations that are using traditional, sustainable, and organic methods of production should not be penalized by applying US standards of inspections which they cannot afford.Investigate instances of violations, do not penalize an entire industry.Thank you,Respectfully, the undersigned
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