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A new report reveals that fruit labeled organic might not actually be organic

When is organic fruit not organic? You’d think this wouldn’t be a question you actually have to ask, but apparently it’s a legitimate concern. A new study by Nerd Wallet has revealed that “labeling fraud” for organic fruits has become an issue, and the United States Department of Agriculture is aware of it.

Typically, organic foods cost 128% more than non-organic foods. So if a company can label a non-organic fruit as organic, they stand to make a lot more money than they normally would. For example, Costa Verde pineapples are certified organic by the USDA. However, they were found to be using pesticides that are “not approved as organic” and thus not in line with standard organic regulations. Furthermore, the USDA took no action when Costa Verde was found to be in violation. The system of certifying growers may be what’s letting us all down. Instead of the certifiers being paid by the USDA, they’re paid by the growers themselves. So the very people that hold the fate of the organic foods in their hands are paid by those who stand to gain the most from the foods being certified as “organic”.

The financial ramifications of fraud labeling isn’t the biggest concern. The biggest concern would be that customers purchase fruits they expect to be safe for consumption due to their organic labels, when in fact those fruits have been sprayed with some type of pesticide. A certifier named Primus Labs labeled cantaloupes in 2011 as “safe for consumption”, and “33 people died after a listeria outbreak”. This was after Primus Labs stated the fruit was “sanitary”.

Let’s hope the USDA, certifiers, and growers take more steps to ensure the fruits and vegetables we consume are not only organic when they are labeled as such, but are actually safe.

To read the entire article on label fraud, click here: