Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-ME), a member of the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, released the following statement on a report the Office of Inspector General released today on organic integrity. During appropriations hearings earlier this year, Congresswoman Pingree questioned Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and USDA Inspector General Phyllis Fong about the integrity of organic imports.
“Integrity is the cornerstone of the organic label. Organic farmers in my district and across the country deserve a fair playing field when it comes to the enforcement of organic standards. I’m very concerned by the loopholes USDA Office of Inspector General’s found in the verification and inspection process that have allowed non-organic food from other countries to be sold as organic in the U.S. The recommendations in this audit provide a good road map for addressing these concerns and strengthening the integrity of organic imports. I look forward to working with my colleagues on the House Committee on Appropriations to ensure that USDA has the resources it needs to accomplish the recommendations outlined in the report."
Pingree is a longtime certified organic farmer in Maine.