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NYT on Organics and Food Safety

organic cert logoIn the Dining & Wine section yesterday, a story on the fractures in the food safety system that led to contaminated peanut products in organic brands. Kim Severson and Andrew Martin note:

Organics has grown from an $11 billion business in the United States in 2001 to one that now generates more than $20 billion in sales, so the stakes for farmers, processors and certifiers can be high. But the agency overseeing the certifying process has long been considered underfunded and understaffed. Critics have called the system dysfunctional.

SP contributor Nancy Scola traced some of the fishy organic certification systems across the Pacific to China in her article this week, and covered the broader problems of a fractured food safety system last year. She noted that: “The GAO, which has long called for a single food agency, last year bumped the current system up to the level of ‘high-risk area.’” That “last year” was 2007. The new appointees in the Obama administration have their work cut out for them and will need sustained resources to make sure all food, organic or not, remains safe.

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