Fake organic products a blight on market that must be rooted out

VOICE OF CHINA has reported some companies in Beijing label nonorganic vegetables as organic produce. Although the Beijing municipal government has taken immediate actions to investigate the case, it exposes institutional loopholes in the supervision of the organic agriculture industry. Beijing Youth Daily comments:

Genuine organic agricultural producers must strictly follow the requirements for that designation, which adds to their operational costs. But slack supervision means nonorganic products can easily be passed off as organic.

The supervision of organic agriculture is costly for the industrial and food watchdogs, as it entails huge inputs of manpower in the supervision of the whole industrial chain, as there are requirements for almost every link of the chain, from soil to storage.

That some certified organic agricultural companies have adulterated their products means the organic agricultural products sector has reached a crucial moment, one in which the authorities must take concrete measures to keep the industry in the right order.

An important reason that even the qualified organic agricultural companies dare to take risks in doing so is that the penalties, if caught, are too light under the current laws and regulations, such that the illegal profits outweigh any loss. Before the laws and rules are amended, it will always be a cat-and-mouse game.

It is difficult to obtain certification as an organic agricultural producer. But that does not mean that once they have issued the certification, the authorities can ignore their supervisory obligations. It is suggested that the commerce, food safety and agricultural administrative departments organize more spot tests in the market. If a company fails to pass the test, its certification should be revoked. Retailers caught selling fake organic produce should also be punished.

(Source: China Daily)