When you pay a premium for “organic,” you assume the item you’re purchasing is free from pesticides, fertilizers, antibiotics or food additives. You believe the producer and its suppliers and farmers are committed to providing high quality foods, using agriculture’s most sustainable best practices. This should be the case!
Unfortunately, a growing demand for organic products has enticed profit-hungry commodity producers to enter the organic market. They’re less concerned with quality as they are with marketing an organic label. Case and point, they’re importing questionable “organic” grains to save a few bucks!
The Cornucopia Institute, committed to protecting sustainable and organic agriculture, has investigated and reported on fraudulent organic grain imports for more than a decade. In 2011, they uncovered a Quebec-based feed mill that was exporting cheap conventional grains to the U.S. as certified organic. This week, they reported on yet another suspicious organic grain shipment intercepted at a U.S. port. This time, the shipment contains corn and soybean meal from Russia, Moldova, and Kazakhstan, countries not approved by the USDA to export raw corn seed to the U.S. because of concerns of contamination.
Last year, the Washington Post released an exposé about massive fraudulent soybean imports from Ukraine and Turkey. We were so disgusted with the story that we incorporated it into our Truth About Competitor Claims so our customers can be enlightened.
Bell & Evans is 100% committed to sourcing only U.S. grown grain, corn and extruded and expeller-pressed soybeans. We can trace our grain, corn and soybean from the certified organic farms where they’re grown all the way through to our feed producers and mills. Sure, our feed costs more to produce, but we’re going to ensure our organic chicken is 100% organic. We officially filed for the U.S. Grown Grain logo with the USDA in April 2011; however, we were sourcing U.S. grown grain long before then!
Snippets from Cornucopia’s recent report –
“Chicken producers like Purdue, or egg producers like Cal-Maine, predominantly conventional enterprises, undercut legitimate farmers by feeding imported feedstuffs,” commented Cornucopia’s Kastel.
“In contrast, Cornucopia’s upcoming buyers guide, focusing on how consumers can shift their purchasing to brands of eggs, poultry, and dairy products produced exclusively with domestic feed, will highlight a number of companies that have gone out of their way to patronize U.S. farmers. One example is Bell and Evans, a modern, family-owned Pennsylvania poultry processor, whose products are available in the eastern half of the U.S. through member-owned cooperatives and specialty stores such as Whole Foods.”